The conduct of judicial proceedings involving persons infected or suspected of being infected with a communicable disease may require the court to alter some of its standard procedures in order to assure the safety of court personnel and persons participating in the proceedings. For example, the court might consider whether an individual suspected of being infected with a contagious disease should be permitted to physically appear in the court room and, if not, how the proceedings will be conducted to ensure the individual's adequate participation. Additional issues, including the adequacy of the individual’s access to and consultation with counsel, might also arise.
In the event of a public health emergency, such as the widespread outbreak of an infectious disease within a community, the challenges facing the courts may increase. Court personnel, including judges and security officers, may themselves become ill. The court may be forced to relocate to safer and more sanitary premises. Each of these scenarios will strain the resources of the courts and require innovative solutions that ensure the continued operation of the judicial system while respecting constitutional due process guarantees.