COVID-19 and the courts: Feb. 7, 2022 update

This week's roundup for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Feb. 7, 2022 update

Courts across Canada have been taking measures to control the spread of COVID-19. Below is a roundup of actions that courts are taking across the country.

British Columbia

Provincial Court of British Columbia

NP 19 COVID-19 suspension of regular court operations

If parties wish to attend a trial remotely that was originally scheduled to be heard in-person, they may do so by filing an application with a local court registry.

The court may proceed with proceedings virtually, provided that the court location has sufficient resources and parties have access to the appropriate technology. Prior to making an application, the parties must make the necessary inquiries with court services branch and ensure that they can appear remotely.

The court will proceed with all circuit court matters as scheduled.

Supreme Court of British Columbia

COVID-19 Notice No. 46 – COVID-19: Civil And family proceedings By Microsoft Teams video - JCCs, January 31, 2022

Effective January 31, the court will proceed with all judicial case conferences, which have been heard virtually during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Notice No. 42 – Chambers applications by Microsoft Teams video

Effective January 31, counsel will receive two automated emails prior to their chambers hearing − one at 5:30 p.m. the day prior to the hearing and one at 8:45 a.m. the day of their hearing with a video link.

Alberta

Provincial Court of Alberta

COVID-19 court measures update - January 18, 2022

Traffic court will not be open for in-person appearances. But the court will continue to hear remote proceedings scheduled in Medicine Hat, Brooks, Lethbridge and Fort MacLeod.

If a judge is not available to hear virtually a bail matter between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., the matter will be heard by the Justice of the Peace Centre. After 4:30 p.m., a presiding justice of the peace will hear bail matters via the tele-bail system.

Provincial Court extends suspension of in-proceedings until Feb. 11, 2022

The court extended the suspension of in-person proceedings in the Provincial Court, Youth Justice Court, Night Court and Wellness Court Programs until February 11, except for trials involving individuals in custody and any matter deemed urgent or exceptional by a presiding judge.

The court will hear matters that can be done remotely, provided there is sufficient staff and equipment to do so. While in-person proceedings that cannot be held virtually will be rescheduled.

For self-represented individuals, the rules are as follows:

  • For those who are not in custody and have a virtual appearance, the court will hear the scheduled matter.
  • For those who are not in custody and have an upcoming in-person hearing, the court will not hear the scheduled matter. They should instead contact the courthouse where the matter is being heard or a duty counsel at Nova Scotia Legal Aid for assistance.

The court will also hear bail hearings virtually, whenever possible. But for contested bail hearings, judges in certain locations may require in-person attendance of counsel.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Suspension of jury trials extended to Feb. 11, 2022

The court extended the suspension of all jury trials until February 11. Affected jury trials will be rescheduled to the earliest dates available.

Members of the public who have received a jury summons requiring them to come to the court for jury duty will be deferred to a later date.

Modified essential services model extended to Feb. 11, 2022

The court extended the modified essential services model in all locations until February 11. Under a modified essential services model, in-person proceedings are limited to those deemed urgent or essential by a judge.

The court will proceed with non-urgent court matters, including probate and bankruptcy matters, provided that they can be held virtually and there is sufficient staff and equipment to do so. Any non-essential matters that cannot be dealt with virtually will be rescheduled.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

Notice to the profession and public - Issued January 31, 2022 - Revised COVID-19 operational plan

Unless otherwise notified by the court, all adult and youth criminal hearings and sentencings for accused who are not in custody, which are scheduled between January 4 and February 7, will be rescheduled five weeks from the date of the scheduled court appearance or the next court date thereafter. But the court will hear virtually all criminal matters involving accused who are in custody.

The court will adjourn and reschedule all civil matters set to proceed between January 4 and February 7.

For non-urgent family matters set to be heard from January 4 to February 7, the court will adjourn such matters for five (5) weeks from the scheduled court date or the next court date thereafter.

But emergency or mandatory matters will proceed virtually, including, but not limited to:

  • Child or adult protection
  • Family emergency, such as risk of removal of a child from the province

All non-urgent family matters scheduled to proceed from January 4 to February 7 will be adjourned.

Traffic court and Contraventions Act hearings scheduled between January 4 and February 7 will be rescheduled five weeks from the scheduled court date or the next court date thereafter.

Any scheduled circuit matters scheduled between January 4 and February 7 will be called on the next scheduled court circuit unless otherwise notified by the court. While specialty courts will proceed virtually.

Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

Notice to the profession and general public - Supreme Court operations for February 2022

The court may continue to hear all in-person criminal, civil and family trials scheduled between January 31 and February 7.

All other hearings set to be heard virtually will proceed. The court may also proceed with in-person hearings but subject to assessment by staff members.

The court will not schedule new in-person hearings between January 31 and February 7 unless they are urgent. Urgent matters would include the following:

  • Criminal Proceedings – bail hearings, bail review applications where the accused is in custody and detention reviews
  • Family Proceedings – requests for urgent relief relating to the safety of a child or parent, applications relating to medical decisions or wrongful removal of a child, applications to preserve property or assets, warrants under the Children, Youth and Families Act and applications under the Adult Protection Act

Other matters that a judge determines to be urgent may also be heard in-person.

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