This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. To learn more, visit njsba.com.

Domestic Violence Hearing Officer Program standards revised under Directive #14-18

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) issued a new Directive #14-18, which supersedes Directive #25-17 regarding the standards for the Domestic Violence Hearing Officer Program. The directive contains a new section “H” to Standard #5 to allow domestic violence hearing officers, at the discretion of the presiding judge, to recommend a continuance order at the final hearing when only one party appears on the final hearing date and there are no amendments to the temporary restraining order. The directive is effective immediately and is available in full at https://www.njcourts.gov/notices/2018/.

AOC issues updated list of rescinded and revised directives

In its ongoing review of administrative directives involving the Civil Division, the AOC issued a notice listing directives that have been modified or removed. Those rescinded directives include:

#10-08 – Model Order for Scheduling Hearing for Guardianship of Alleged Incapacitated Person

This directive has been superseded by rule amendments and materials issued by the Supreme Court in a Feb. 6, 2017, notice to the bar. That notice promulgated a revised model order fixing the guardianship hearing date and appointing an attorney for an alleged incapacitated person, and, therefore, the directive is no longer necessary.

#18-68 – Mechanics Liens

This 1968 directive relates to the certificate of commencement of suit, required to be filed within 10 days of the filing of a complaint under the now repealed N.J.S.A. 2A:44-101. The Construction Lien Law, N.J.S.A. 2A:44A-1, et seq., governs this area of the law and does not require such a certificate of commencement of suit, therefore rendering this directive moot.

In addition to rescinding these two directives, the Court issued a superseding Directive #13-18 regarding court appointments in Mount Laurel cases. This directive supersedes Directive #05-90, which promulgates updated procedures with regard to these court appointments.

The new directive makes clear that any court appointments in Mount Laurel matters, including masters, must be approved by the assignment judge. It offers four recommendations for the proper documentation of such court appointments. They set forth that a judge may make any appropriate assignments subject to the approval of the assignment judge; notification to the AOC of any such approved appointment within 10 days to include the name of the case, docket number, name of the person appointed, date of the appointment and the type of appointment involved; notice to the Civil Practice Division of the termination of any such appointment; and a requirement that the Civil Practice Division maintain a database of all current and prior appointments.

The directive is available at https://www.njcourts.gov/notices/2018/.