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The Provincial Court of Alberta Staged Resumption of Court Operations – In-Person Hearings

EDMONTON, Alberta, June 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Provincial Court of Alberta Chief Judge Terrence Matchett is announcing the resumption of in-person hearings effective July 6, 2020.

“The Provincial Court of Alberta is very mindful of the need to expand in-person access to the Court, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of courts users and the public, and to contain the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, effective July 6, 2020, we will be increasing, the number of criminal, family and youth, and civil matters that can be heard in-person.”

Supported by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General (responsible for court administration) and Alberta Infrastructure (responsible for court facilities) strict health and safety measures will be put in place for:

  • physical distancing and monitoring of same;
  • wearing of masks and other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE);
  • modifying courtrooms and other spaces; and
  • enhanced cleaning.

Base point Courtrooms which have these measures in place on July 6, 2020 will expand the use of in-person hearings. The balance of base point trial courtrooms will expand in-person hearings once they have the required health and safety measures implemented.

Circuit courts remain closed at this time.

Chief Judge Matchett went on to say:

“The Provincial Court will continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, and will provide updates regarding the staged reopening. The Provincial Court thanks all stakeholders who have provided support and input during the development of the resumption plans.”

“Managing physical distancing and other health and safety protocols will take the effort and cooperation of all court users and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation”

WHAT IS CHANGING?

Do not attend the courthouse anywhere in the province to deal with Traffic Court/Provincial Offence matters in person. Instructions on how to make appearances or pay fines is on the Provincial Court web site: https://www.albertacourts.ca/pc/home.

Detailed Court Resumption plans have been established for each Court division and region, and are available on The Provincial Court website as additional courts are reopened. 

Traffic Court

If you have a matter that was automatically adjourned to a new court date of July 6, 2020, or later, you must contact the court by telephone or email on or before your new court date.  If you fail to do so, you may be convicted in absence (found guilty and fined) or in some cases, an arrest warrant may be issued.

DO NOT ATTEND a courthouse in person to deal with your matter.

Criminal Courts

In-person Trials and Preliminary Hearings for all In-Custody matters will continue and in-person Out-of-Custody Trials and Preliminary Hearings will resume at base point locations across the province on July 6, 2020 if the hearing can proceed safely.

Case Management Offices (CMO's) will reopen remotely on July 6, 2020. No in-person attendance by Out-of-Custody accused will be permitted at locations that have CMO's.

Remote dockets continue but there will be no further presumptive adjournments. Counsel and Out-of-Custody self-represented accused must make docket court appearances remotely at both CMO or non-CMO court locations by the various methods outlined in the "Case Management Office (CMO) and Out of Custody Docket Court Resumption Protocol” available on the Alberta Provincial Court web-site.

Some Regions may allow limited personal docket appearances by an accused.

For further information regarding specific court locations and their protocols, see the following links, please go to the Alberta The Provincial Court web site:

https://www.albertacourts.ca/pc/home

Family and Youth Courts

Youth Criminal docket matters will no longer be presumptively adjourned.  Trials and sentencing are to occur as scheduled. 

Child Protection Docket matters, Case Management Conferences, Case Conferences and Pretrial Conferences will be by remote appearance or in person, depending on the local area. Please check the protocol for the courthouse you will be appearing in.  Initial Custody Hearings and trials will occur as scheduled with in-person attendance of witnesses, parties and counsel unless otherwise directed by the court.

In Family Law matters, docket and pretrial conferences are to occur by remote appearance by parties and counsel, or in person depending on the local area. Please check the protocol for the courthouse you are appearing in.

Civil Court

There will be no presumptive adjournments of any civil matters.

Trials scheduled after July 6 will proceed in-person as scheduled. 

There may be in-person mediations, pre-trial conferences, trials and other applications as set out in the Resumption Plan for civil court available on The Provincial Court of Alberta web site.  In Edmonton and Calgary, pretrial conferences and applications will be conducted in person.  In areas outside of Edmonton and Calgary, pretrial conferences and applications will be conducted by telephone.   

Urgent filing of documents will be accepted at civil counters in base court locations.  Non-urgent matters will be accepted by way of drop box or local protocol.

Tim Owens Executive Director, Office of the Chief Judge, The Provincial Court of Alberta 6th Floor Law Courts (North) 1A Sir Winston Churchill Square Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 0R2 Phone: (780) 937-7044 tim.owens@albertacourts.ca 

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/b7c57abd-4414-4ba1-9aa9-1d25d8707316