COVID-19 and the courts: May 11 update

Today's update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: May 11 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.

British Columbia
Provincial Court of British Columbia

Notice to the Profession and Public Covid-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations
For in-custody trials scheduled to be heard from May 19 to May 29 and believed to be urgent, the judicial case manager should be contacted before 4:00 p.m. on May 16, so that the court can decide whether the trial is urgent and can decide the next steps. For in-custody trials originally scheduled to be heard from June 1 to July 3, one can raise the issue of urgency with the pre-trial conference judge. If needed, the judge may grant permission to make an urgency application on the record.

The court has posted answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to matters such as urgent hearings and protection orders.

Supreme Court of British Columbia

COVID-19 Notice No. 17 - Notice to media regarding access to court proceedings
The court is taking steps to make sure that members of the media can still access and disseminate information on court proceedings, in recognition of the importance of the open court principle.

COVID-19 Notice No. 16 - Criminal proceedings - COVID pre-trial conferences
Effective May 4 and while the suspension of the court’s normal operations persists, the court is conducting pre-trial conferences for criminal cases via telephone, in situations where the trial can’t proceed due to the suspension or where there is a risk of adjournment due to the indirect effects of the suspension.

COVID-19 Notice No. 15 - Suspension of all regular court operations - Insolvency matters
The court has amended its process for making a request for an urgent hearing for insolvency cases.

Steps taken by the courts during the pandemic - Letter to CBA and LSA
The courts of Alberta have addressed a letter to the Canadian Bar Association and to the Law Society of Alberta to discuss the courts’ COVID-19-related responses, measures and challenges.

Provincial Court of Alberta

Announcement regarding pre-trial and pre-preliminary inquiry conferences
Effective immediately, the court is taking further action to address criminal matters which are presently set or which will be set for trial or for preliminary inquiry between July 1 and Dec. 31.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Notice to the profession and public: Family law simple desk application process
Effective immediately, a desk application for a family law matter can be made via a simple desk application. For each application, only two issues can be raised at most.

Notice to the profession and public: Family applications with written argument
Effective immediately, a family application too complex for a simple desk application process can be made via a desk application with written argument, if each party involved is represented by a lawyer.

Notice to the profession and public: Desk applications for notices to disclose
Effective immediately, a party seeking financial disclosure under Rule 12.41 of the Alberta Rules of Court should obtain a disclosure order via a desk application process, if the other party does not make a complete disclosure in response to the notice to disclose.

Launch of Criminal Summary Disposition Court
If all the parties consent, the court can hear summary dispositions via Webex.

Provincial Court of Manitoba

Notice - Additional judicial and JJP hearing, including weekends
Effective May 11, the 9:00 a.m. judge’s dockets taking place from Monday to Friday in Winnipeg are discontinued. For the rest of May, the Weekend Judges Court will continue. Then, the court will reassess whether it is reaching the desired objectives.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba

Notice - QB Trials May 26, 2020 - June 30, 2020
Subject to further developments, trials currently scheduled for criminal, civil, family and child protection proceedings for the period from May 26 to June 30 will push through.

Ontario Court of Justice
The court is continuing to operate on a reduced schedule. Until July 6, at the earliest, no trials or preliminary inquiries will be conducted, subject to certain exceptions. This applies to criminal matters, family matters and Provincial Offences Act matters.

COVID-19: Ontario Court of Justice Protocol Re Bail Hearings
Bail hearings will be done via audio-conference or video-conference or a combination of both. Unless otherwise directed by a judicial official, the accused can appear via audio-conference in a contested bail hearing where a witness’s evidence is going to be heard, as long as the accused and the Crown have consented. If there was no consent, the accused should appear via video-conference.

COVID-19: Consent Variation Procedures for Release Orders and Police Undertakings in the Ontario Court of Justice
Effective May 11, the court has new procedures in place to assist individuals in applying to vary their release conditions, without needing to personally appear in court.

Ontario Superior Court of Justice
Order Adjourning Child Protection Matters
The court has adjourned certain child protection matters to July, given the continuing public health crisis.

Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused Persons and the Media Regarding the Continued Suspension of in-court matters to July 6, 2020
Except for certain matters that the court is hearing in each region by telephone or video-conference hearings or in writing, the court will not resume in-person hearings of other matters until July 6, at the earliest. It expects to soon expand the scope of matters that can be dealt with virtually.

Order Further Adjourning Criminal Matters
For accused individuals who have criminal matters scheduled for any type of appearance between Mar. 17 and July 3, these matters are adjourned, unless the court orders otherwise.

Nova Scotia
Provincial Court of Nova Scotia and Youth Justice Court

COVID-19: Provincial Court Adopts Virtual Peace Bond Process
Under the virtual process, presiding Justices of the Peace will triage peace bond applications via telephone to decide whether an agreement can be reached, and if not, whether a hearing can be conducted.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Supreme Court offering virtual hearings, settlement conferences
The court is offering virtual court hearings and settlement conferences for certain non-urgent matters at the Law Courts in Halifax.

Filing deadlines for summary conviction appeals suspended
Unless a judge states otherwise, filing deadlines for summary conviction appeals set out in Civil Procedure Rule 63.05 have been suspended, with the suspension period retroactive to Mar. 19.

Newfoundland and Labrador
Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

COVID-19 Notice to the Profession and the Public - Jury Trials
On Mar. 18 and until further notice, the court suspended jury selections and jury trials. This subsequent notice intends to offer greater certainty for accused individuals.

COVID-19 Notice to the Profession and the Public - Notices of Application for Letters of Probate, Administration and Resealing of Grants Posted Online
Starting May 4, the court will be posting notices of applications for letters of probate, letters of administration and notices of applications for the resealing of a foreign grant on its estates e-filing webpage in a searchable database.

COVID-19 Notice to the Profession and the Public - Amendment to Notice Re: Expansion of Operations
The court has amended its notice to the profession and the general public issued on Apr. 28.

Nunavut Court of Justice

Continued suspension of regular operations
The suspension of the court’s regular operations will continue until July 3.

Recent articles & video

SCC finds company committed abusive tax avoidance in case dealing with general anti-avoidance rule

Medical reporting organisations are not medical experts, court rules

Roundup of law firm hires, promotions, departures: May 29, 2023 update

Critics decry ‘disjointed’ diversity disclosure options from securities administrators

For AI, intellectual property must now reward and incentivize creativity and inventiveness: lawyer

NS Supreme Court rejects unjust enrichment claim over in-law suite renovations

Most Read Articles

SCC notes importance of defending marginalized groups with ‘counter-speech’ in anti-SLAPP ruling

Massive interest in AI comes with significant responsibilities: McCarthy Tétrault’s Charles Morgan

Thomson Reuters upends legal drafting with Microsoft Word AI integration

For AI, intellectual property must now reward and incentivize creativity and inventiveness: lawyer