COVID-19 and the courts: May 25 update

Today’s update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: May 25 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

Supreme Court of British Columbia

COVID-19 Notice No. 22: Resumption of some court operations – Civil and family matters
The court has suspended all civil jury selections and cancelled jury trials until Sept. 7 everywhere in the province. In the case of civil matters where a jury notice has been filed and served, if one wants to proceed by judge alone, one may schedule a trial management conference or a judicial management conference and apply for the jury notice to be set aside. A party that wants to continue with a trial by jury may oppose this application and may apply for adjournment of the trial. If all the parties agree to proceed by judge alone, this can be addressed at a trial management conference or judicial management conference.

COVID-19 Notice No. 23: Resumption of trial management conferences – Civil and family matters
Like Notice No. 22, this notice also contains clarifications about jury selections and jury trials.


Provincial Court of Alberta

Updated - COVID-19 staged resumption of court operations
As of May 19, the court has updated the first part of its staged resumption of court operations with new family mediation information. There are also changes to criminal adult out-of-custody trials and preliminary inquiries details, as well as changes to the rescheduling and adjournment of provincial ticket matters, bylaw matters, and other matters scheduled for trial.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Electronic without notice desk applications - Justice Chambers
The court details the procedure for filing electronic without notice applications before a Justice in Chambers across the province.

With notice desk applications process - Masters Chambers
Effective immediately, if each party is represented by counsel, with notice applications that would have otherwise been heard in Masters Chambers, including Special Chambers, may be filed via desk application with written argument.

Family law dispute resolution processes, Rule 4.16 amendments and Family Docket Court
The court has shared more information on the kinds of dispute resolution resources offered by the Justice Ministry and by the community, such as parenting tools, mediation services, collaborative divorce process services and other dispute resolution programs.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta Criminal Procedure Rules Amendment
The court explains certain amendments to its Criminal Procedure Rules in relation to electronic signatures and electronic hearings.


Provincial Court of Manitoba

Notice - Provincial Offences Act proceedings - Update May 19th
The court office at 373 Broadway will stay closed to the public until July 6, but the court will resume dealing with some provincial offence tickets remotely.


Ontario Court of Justice

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice
Effective May 19 and until further notice, the court will not be conducting Provincial Offences Act proceedings until July 6 except for remote judicial pre-trials.

Court of Appeal for Ontario

Amended Practice Direction Concerning Criminal Matters Given the Exceptional and Evolving Circumstances Concerning COVID-19
The amended practice direction, which applies until Sept. 30, gives information on serving and filing deadlines and extensions of time relating to criminal appeals.

Nova Scotia

Provincial Court of Nova Scotia and Youth Justice Court

COVID-19: Domestic Violence Court in Halifax to resume remote hearings
Effective June 10, the Domestic Violence Court in Halifax will recommence weekly telephone hearings for scheduled matters in Halifax, with new applications to be put on the docket for consideration beginning July 8. The court expects to issue another announcement soon about Domestic Violence Court matters in Sydney.

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