COVID 19 continues to affect Criminal and Family Law proceedings, as well as Traffic Court. Gunn Law’s team of Family, Criminal and Impaired Driving Lawyers are monitoring the situation closely and are always ready to help you through whatever your facing. Here are updates on how it is affecting the various courts in Alberta, Northwest Territories and Yukon
In Alberta Provincial Court, if the matter does not fall under a category of an essential function, any dates currently scheduled for court between now and July 3, 2020 are adjourned for 6 weeks.
If the accused is in custody, one should presume that those matters are proceeding. The Court considers those to be part of the Court’s “Essential functions” and will be proceeding as they normally do.
If the accused is out of custody and has an upcoming court date, the matter will be adjourned for 6 weeks. The Provincial Court will consider hearing guilty pleas before July 3, 2020 where the proposed sentence does not involve further jail.
For family law matters in Alberta Provincial Court, the general principle is that if there is the potential for imminent harm (such as child abduction or family violence) those family law matters will likely proceed with all others being adjourned, as noted above, for 6 weeks. As with the criminal law matters, if the court date is between now and July 3, 2020, neither counsel nor the client need appear; the matter will be automatically adjourned for the 6-week period.
The matters in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench where the accused is in custody will proceed as usual. Queen’s Bench bail reviews and detention reviews will go ahead as scheduled, as will arraignments for in custody accused.
The criminal matters in the Court of Queen’s Bench where the accused is out of custody and has a court appearance between June 1 and June 26, 2020 will be adjourned to a new date in August or September 2020 depending on the location. The exact date for that location can be found in Appendix A at the following link:
All family matters scheduled in the Court of Queen’s Bench for hearing between June 1 and June 26, 2020 are adjourned sine die, or indefinitely, unless otherwise directed by the Court. Family Special Justice Chambers Applications scheduled prior to March 16, 2020 and to be heard June 29 or later will proceed as scheduled.
Generally, all civil and family law matters between now and July 5, 2020 are cancelled unless otherwise directed. The same can be said for criminal matters outside of Yellowknife except for emergency matters (likely on a case-by-case basis) and matters except where the accused is in custody and their matter can be conducted by videoconference. Where a matter does not fall under this exception, the case will be adjourned to the next sitting date in that jurisdiction that arises after July 5, 2020.
All criminal and youth trials currently scheduled Yellowknife will proceed as scheduled (as always subject to further developments with the pandemic). Those who have simple “docket” court appearances (for plea, for example) in the near future should check with the court’s website as to what their next court date is likely to be.
Most matters, other than those involving accused who are in custody, are being adjourned to July 2, 2020 or thereafter. Where possible, people are encouraged to appear (when necessary) by phone. All in-custody trials, preliminary inquiries and sentencings will be proceeding as usual.
Non-urgent, small-claims and family matters are over to July 2, 2020. Urgent child-protection matters, and other protective orders will likely proceed, preferably with counsel appearing by teleconference.
All traffic ticket, and by-law matters will be adjourned to a later date without the person having to attend court. A notice of the new date will be sent to the disputant by mail to the address on file with the court.