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Friday, April 8, 2011 at 11:59 PM is a date and time that looms large for the U.S. Congress. If they are unable to agree upon terms to continue funding the Federal Government, then it will technically shut down.

While at this point no one is exactly sure how a shutdown will ultimately affect the Federal Courts and the federal system, the Judiciary Branch has a contingency plan to keep things running normally for as long as two weeks – through the use of non-appropriated funds.

If at the end of that term, Congress has still not resolved the funding issue, then the courts’ functionality would be reduced to essential activities only.

According to the US Courts’ website:

For the federal courts, this would mean limiting activities to those functions necessary and essential to continue the resolution of cases. All other personnel services not related to performance of Article III functions would be suspended.

The jury system would operate as necessary, although payments to jurors would be deferred. Attorneys and essential support staff in federal defender offices and court-appointed counsel would continue to provide defense services as needed, but again, payments would be deferred. Courts would determine the number of probation office staff needed to maintain service to the courts and the safety of the community.

If you have any questions about how a potential Federal Government Shutdown in 2011 could affect you, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or via phone at 301-563-6685.