Alberta Provincial Court and Queen’s Bench postpones proceedings as COVID-19 cases rise

The Provincial Court of Alberta and Queen’s Bench is postponing certain proceedings in response to increasing COVID-19 cases.

In a COVID-19 update posted on New Year’s Day, the provincial court said it would adjourn all adult and youth criminal non-urgent out of custody trials, preliminary inquires, and other hearings requiring oral or in-person evidence between Jan. 4 to 21.

All other adult criminal proceedings, including pre-trials and docket applications, will be completed virtually.

The provincial court said that counsel could obtain new dates remotely, and self-representing individuals can contact the case management office or duty counsel at a courthouse.

For Queen’s Bench proceedings, all in-person criminal trials, civil, commercial, surrogate, and family matters will be adjourned except for in-custody criminal matters, restraining order and emergency protection order hearings requiring in-person attendance, or scheduled matters involving “unusual and urgent circumstances.”

Masters matters, including bankruptcy, will continue to be heard remotely.

All in-person civil proceedings from Jan. 4 to 21, including trials, pretrials, and applications, will be postponed as well. Authorities will reach out directly to affected individuals. 

Any civil matters other than trials presently scheduled to be heard by telephone or Webex will proceed as scheduled.

Family docket appearances will proceed remotely, and any non-urgent interim hearings and trials will be adjourned.

The court says urgent interim hearings and trials will proceed in-person only if there is a risk of immediate harm to children or others, children being removed from Alberta, severe financial hardship requiring a support order, or the hearing had previously been adjourned due to COVID-19 measures.

Case management offices and traffic court continue to be closed for in-person appearances.

According to the provincial court, virtual trials for traffic, ticket, bylaw, and provincial offences scheduled in Medicine Hat, Brooks, Lethbridge, and Fort Macleod will proceed. Trial matters in any other city between Jan. 4 to 21 may be paused.

Affected individuals are asked to reach out to the base court office for the location a trial was initially scheduled in for further information. 

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