The Superior Court has taken the COVID-19 crisis and looked for a silver lining. In order to begin providing more access to the courts during the pandemic, we have looked for innovative methods and technologies to carry out our constitutional mandates as well as provide transparency to the public and access for litigants.
We have instituted video conferencing as a way to provide timely access to the courts and to protect the health and safety of both court participants as well as our staff, and the staff of our partners. We are currently utilizing the ZOOM video conference platform. It is free for users. You can download the software for your device HERE. It is best to download the software prior to your court appearance and over a WIFI connection.
PLEASE NOTE: Most docket notices and orders to appear for court do not provide information about Zoom, and often are worded in such a way to command folks to show up at the Hall of Justice for their hearing. Counsel and Self Represented Parties should add language indicating that respondents/defendants/opposing parties should appear via Zoom, and direct them to our website for connection and other information at https://www.cowlitzsuperiorcourt.us/zoom
When appearing for a ZOOM court hearing, it is preferable to use their software to connect, and to connect via WIFI. There are many sources of free public WIFI if you do not have a good connection from your home or work. You can connect by calling in only, however, it is a better experience for all concerned if you can appear by video.
On our Zoom Hearing page, you will find links to scheduled hearings that are being conducted by video conference software. With the exception of civil protection order hearings, this page is ONLY for litigants and other necessary participants in the hearing.
Family, friends, and the general public will find access to the hearings on our Court Stream Page, where you will find links to our YouTube channels which broadcast many hearings in real-time. Effective July 25, 2021, civil protection order hearings will no longer be livestreamed. To view protection order proceedings, the zoom hearing page may be utilized. Please sign in as “Guest.”
We anticipate that as things begin to open up, and we can begin to have more in-person hearings, that the new technology will continue to be used for many hearings, saving participants a trip to the courthouse, extra time off work and away from family. We believe this will be a lasting improvement that will improve access to our courts.