COVID-19 and the courts: April 24 update

Today’s update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: April 24 update

Courts across Canada are taking extraordinary measures to control the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19. Below is a roundup of actions courts are taking across the country.

Alberta

Provincial Court of Alberta

Remote out of custody applications including guilty pleas — guidelines
Using these guidelines dated Apr. 23 as a framework, the different regions intend to develop protocols that will enable them to remotely hear, via telephone or video conferencing, certain out-of-custody applications, including guilty pleas, peace bonds and amendments to release conditions. The guidelines cover not only the court proceedings, but also the pre-court and post-court procedures.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Amended Master Order #3 relating to court’s response to the COVID-19 virus
This amended order takes the place of the ones previously issued on Mar. 15 and Mar. 20. Unless otherwise specified by the presiding judge, criminal matters in which the accused is not in custody and which are set for hearing from Mar. 16 to May 31, have been adjourned to the locations and dates provided in an appendix to the order. As for civil and family matters set for hearing from Mar. 16 to May 31, these have been adjourned sine die, unless otherwise directed by the court. For now, the court is only hearing emergency and urgent matters. Filing deadlines provided under the Alberta Rules of Court, including Rule 13.41(4), have been suspended until May 31, subject to certain exceptions.

Saskatchewan

Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan

Directive update as of April 23, 2020
Given the ongoing requirement to observe social distancing, jury trials scheduled for June have been postponed to Fall 2020. This directive, which takes effect immediately, also covers the court’s processes and measures in relation to non-urgent consent orders, without notice applications, affidavits, civil and family pre-trial conferences, appearance day applications and case conferences, among other matters.

Prince Edward Island

Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island and Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal

Notice to members of the Law Society
Given that the court is continuing to hear only matters considered urgent, essential or an emergency, parties should complete and file a request for urgent, essential or emergency hearing instead of sending an email to the trial co-ordinator or the court’s prothonotary and registrar, as directed in a previous notice. The notice also makes a clarification with regard to the filing of consent orders or notices of discontinuance.

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