COVID-19 and the courts: Mar. 29, 2021 update

Today’s roundup for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Mar. 29, 2021 update

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.


Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba

Notice - Adjustment to Current Scheduling Protocols April 1, 2021 until further notice
The notice dated Mar. 17 confirmed that the scheduling protocols announced in the latest practice directions and notices would continue to apply from Apr. 1, until further notice. The notice summarizes these protocols. In the general division, judge-alone criminal trials for in-custody and out-of-custody accused individuals will move forward as scheduled and in person. Civil trials will proceed as scheduled via video hearing if all parties are represented by counsel. Other judicial services offered by videoconference or audio conference in the areas of criminal and civil law will continue like before. In the family division, the court will continue to deal with family triage hearings, the triage screening list, motions and case conferences remotely via teleconference or videoconference and to handle child protection intake lists and child protection pre-trial conferences via teleconference.


Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Guidelines On Access to Hearings During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The guidelines address the open court principle, options for remote hearings, the factors that the presiding judicial official will consider when selecting a remote hearing platform and the procedure for accessing a remote hearing, and in-person hearing and exhibits.

Court of Appeal for Ontario

Consolidated Practice Direction Regarding Proceedings in the Court of Appeal During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The consolidated practice direction updates and revokes certain COVID-19-related practice directions and notices effective Mar. 29. A new standard wording of the surrender condition applies to all release orders made by the court effective Mar. 29, except if otherwise ordered by a judge.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

Notice to the Profession and Public - Provincial Court of NL - St. John's and Harbour Grace
The court will expand its operations on the Avalon Peninsula effective Mar. 29, but access to the court is limited to participants in the proceedings. The notice contains information on matters such as front counter service, adult criminal and youth criminal cases, family cases, protection applications, peace bonds, in-custody accused individuals, out-of-custody individuals, virtual court, specialty courts, civil matters, traffic court and public health guidelines.

Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

Notice – Supreme Court Operations for April 2021 (St. John's General Division)
The notice explained changes to court operations in the St. John’s General Division beginning Apr. 1, including a return to the hybrid in-person and virtual services model, and provided information on trials, hearings, conferences and document filing and processing.

Notice – Supreme Court Operations for April 2021 (St. John's Family Division)
Starting Apr. 1, matters scheduled for hearing in the St. John’s Family Division will be conducted in person, except if the court has instructed counsel and/or the parties to appear virtually. The court urged counsel to identify matters that may be heard by teleconference or videoconference and to apply to appear virtually under the relevant legislation or rules of court.

Notice – Supreme Court Operations for April 2021 (All Judicial Centres and Circuit Court Locations Outside the Avalon Peninsula)
All judicial centres outside the Avalon Peninsula will recommence the hybrid in-person and virtual

services model starting on Apr. 1. The Court will resume setting new matters for appearances, while the court’s registry will stay open for in-person appointments.

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