COVID-19 and the courts: Mar. 15, 2021 update

Today’s roundup for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Mar. 15, 2021 update
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Courts across Canada have been taking measures to control the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. Below is a roundup of actions courts are taking across the country.

British Columbia

Provincial Court of British Columbia

Updated NP 21 Guide to Virtual Proceedings
The notice updated on Mar. 10 offers information for those planning to appear before the court to attend a virtual proceeding or to observe a virtual hearing, including guidelines for best practices for virtual proceeding etiquette. The court is holding certain proceedings virtually by audio conference or video conference until further notice, unless otherwise ordered by a judge, in the context of the public health crisis.


Provincial Court of Saskatchewan

Directive Update as of March 11, 2021
Effective Mar. 29, the court will hold in-person hearings at permanent court locations where it can move forward in compliance with public health guidelines. Traffic Safety Courts and Bylaw Courts will open in certain areas where there are relatively few participants. The court strongly urges lawyers or unrepresented accused individuals who are concerned about the safety of an in-person proceeding to notify the court office so that the court can determine before the hearing date whether the matter should proceed as scheduled. Safety considerations may include the number of participants, the attendance of an out-of-province witness and travel between communities. The court may also opt to initiate a case management conference on its own motion.

New Brunswick

Court of Appeal of New Brunswick

COVID-19: Updated Directive
The directive dated Mar. 8 replaces previous directives on the court’s operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and applies to both civil and criminal appeals. It contains information about entering the Justice Building, using masks or face coverings, filing and serving documents and affidavits, hearing motions and appeals and media access.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

Notice to the Profession and Public - Provincial Court of NL - Outside St. John's and Harbour Grace
Effective Mar. 16, the court will expand its operations beyond the Avalon Peninsula, but access to the court will be limited to those participating in the court proceedings, including counsel, parties, witnesses, victims, support workers, probation officers, victim services workers, parents of young individuals, members of the media and persons authorized in advance by a judge. The presiding judge may choose to limit access to the courtroom. Peace officers may attend the court proceedings with applications for judicial authorizations and other services as required.

Notice to the Profession and Public - Provincial Court of NL - St. John's and Harbour Grace
As of Mar. 16, the St. John’s and Harbour Grace Provincial Courts will accept applications to hear more cases which are currently listed on its dockets. The court is still suspending travel to the Placentia circuit until further notice and adjourning civil trials, traffic trials and Contraventions Act cases indefinitely, and will contact the parties involved about the rescheduled dates. The notice also provides information on virtual court operations.

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