Provincial Court of British Columbia
May 8, 2020
Updated: May 11
Notice to the Profession and Public NP 19: COVID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations
People are strongly discouraged from attending any courthouse, and all proceedings will be held by audioconference or videoconference unless otherwise directed.
At the moment no in-person trials can be accommodated, unless otherwise ordered by a judge. We continue to be guided by the Public Health Officer and are working with government to make the necessary changes to courts to enable them to receive court participants in such a way that physical distancing can be respected, and participants can be kept safe. We are also working with government to improve technology to enhance our ability to conduct remote proceedings where possible. We recognize that accommodating in-person trials is an ongoing process that will be informed by public health information and physical distancing strategies/improvements in courts.
The Provincial Court recognizes these are difficult and challenging times. We encourage counsel to bring creative approaches to the Court that allow us to facilitate access to justice and meet statutory requirements. We do appreciate all of counsels’ efforts to accommodate this period of rapid change.
NP 19 provides information on the following: family matters (including child protection and maintenance enforcement; small claims; criminal matters (adult and youth); Indigenous courts; judicial authorizations; public health emergency matters; traffic, ticket or bylaw matters; circuit courts; adjournment details.
|May 7, 2020||
Notice to the Profession and Public NP 21: Guide to Remote Proceedings
In light of the extraordinary circumstances during the current public health emergency, and as described in NP 19 COVID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations, all court proceedings will be held remotely by audioconference or videoconference until further notice, unless otherwise ordered by a judge. Although the court proceeding is taking place remotely and judges, parties, lawyers, and court staff may attend by audioconference or videoconference, it remains a formal setting.
This Notice provides information for anyone who will appear before the Provincial Court for a remote proceeding beginning May 7, 2020 until further notice. In this Notice, the term “remote proceeding” means a hearing or case conference conducted by audioconference (including telephone or Microsoft Teams) or videoconference (including Microsoft Teams).
|April 28, 2020||
Practice Directive CRIM12: Criminal pre-trial conferences during COVID-19
The Provincial Court is implementing this practice direction to help address [concerns that too many criminal files are set for trial and do not proceed] by mandating pre-trial conferences for criminal files (adult and youth) at all Provincial Court locations in the Province. This practice direction also represents one of the steps the Court is taking to increase court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring public health continues to be protected.
This practice directive applies to all adult and youth criminal files in the Provincial Court except summary proceedings files. All files that have been set for trial or preliminary inquiry must have a pre-trial conference prior to the trial or preliminary inquiry proceeding. Files that have not been set but wish to be set for trial or preliminary inquiry must have a pre-trial conference before being scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry. Pre-trial conferences will commence being held on May 4, 2020.
This practice direction is in effect commencing April 28, 2020 and remains in effect until further direction from the Chief Judge.