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Courts & Tribunals

Updated:
August 5, 2020

The Courts have put in place a number of cleaning, health screening, and physical distancing protocols. See Notice 22 and COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations for details.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Supreme Court

With the resumption of chambers as set out in  COVID-19 Notice No. 28 dated July 13, 2020, as of June 18, 2020 the Request for Urgent Hearing process is only available for urgent applications on short notice ("short leave applications") under Rule 8-5 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-9 of the Supreme Court Family Rules. Other applications should be made through regular chambers.

Effective July 13, 2020, in-person registry services will resume at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia, and the interim process that the Court established for requesting a hearing of an urgent or essential matter will no longer be available. See Notice No. 33 (Criminal) and Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family)for more details.

Visit the BC Supreme Court website for the most up-to-date information.

Provincial Court

NOTE: The Provincial Court is returning to the pre-COVID court process for having urgent matters come before the court. As of July 13, 2020, Provincial Court registries will be accepting ALL filings at the applicable court registry either in-person or remotely (by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries under GEN 01 Practice Direction, or using Court Services Online where available). To protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options wherever possible.  The COVID-19 urgent hearing process will no longer be necessary. And there’s a new, faster process for applications to change child or spousal support orders related to COVID – See how to apply and Notice NP19 (July 29) for more information. 

Visit the BC Provincial Court website for the most up-to-date information.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

After July 3, 2020, the Provincial Court of BC will resume all previously scheduled in-person proceedings in all criminal, family and small claims matters.  Litigants and lawyers should be in contact with witnesses and prepare for their trials to proceed as scheduled. Reach out to your litigator if you have not been contacted.

Lawyers and self-represented litigants should attend court on the date scheduled at 9:00 AM to advise if they are ready to proceed. After hearing from them, the Court will decide whether to grant any adjournments sought and decide which trials will proceed. All witnesses and any parties represented by lawyers are to wait outside the courthouse and be within a 30 minute distance and be prepared to attend and testify in court. For further information, see the Notice to the Profession and Public.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

You can now get free help from volunteer paralegals who can help you fill out court forms. Request a virtual appointment at www.legalformsbc.ca

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Courts have now indicated that they will be resuming some of their usual activities in the coming weeks. Courts are following strict health and safety protocols to ensure that the courts remain safe for everyone.

Supreme Court

For the Supreme Court, see COVID-19 NOTICE 28, COVID-19 NOTICE 32 (Civil, Family, Insolvency and Bankruptcy proceedings), COVID-19 Notice No. 33 (Criminal), and COVID-19 Notice 34 (Civil and Family), , COVID-19 Notice No. 38 (Criminal Jury Trials) and COVID-19 Notice No. 39. and COVID-19 Notice No. 40 for more information. See HERE for a full index of Supreme Court notices.

Effective July 13, 2020, in-person registry services will resume at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia, and the interim process that the Court established for requesting a hearing of an urgent or essential matter will no longer be available. While in-person filing is available, parties are strongly encouraged to use e-filing, or one of the other methods. See Notice No. 33 (Criminal) and Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family) for more details.

Civil jury trials are cancelled up to and including January 1, 2021. . Starting June 1, 2020, some chambers matters will resume by telephone conference, including Judicial Case Conferences, already scheduled chambers matters, and trial management conferences. All civil and family trials scheduled to begin on or before June 5, 2020 are adjourned and all civil and family trials scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020 will resume, unless the Court otherwise directs. Please note that as of May 26, 2020 and until further notice, parties not appearing in person before the Court as a result of measures put in place during the public health emergency are required to e-file their affidavits of service or delivery. See this notice for how to e-file through Court Services Online.

Parties can make Chambers applications to the Supreme Court that are estimated to take two hours or less. For more information on such applications, see COVID-19 Notice No. 28.

Note on TMCs: Effective July 27, 2020, parties must file and serve trial briefs, trial records and trial certificates in accordance with the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules. The timeframes for filing and serving trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates which were set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 26 no longer apply. The Court’s direction that TMCs proceed by telephone unless the Court otherwise orders continues to apply. To learn more, book a TMC, or rebook a trial, see COVID-19 Notice No. 40.

BC Provincial Court 

For information on the BC Provincial Court, or to determine when your trial, hearing or matter will be heard, see the Notice to the Profession and Public Covid-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations NP19.

As of July 13, 2020, Provincial Court registries will be accepting ALL filings at the applicable court registry either in-person or remotely (by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries under GEN 01 Practice Direction, or using Court Services Online where available). To protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options wherever possible. 

NOTE: Only trials will be held in-person. All other matters will be heard by phone or video conference, unless otherwise ordered by a judge. Click HERE for the guide to remote proceedings. 

Beginning June 8, 2020, the Provincial Court will begin hearing some in-person hearings in a few courthouses around the province. See their May 26, 2020 announcement for more detail. In person hearings will be reserved for priority matters that cannot be dealt with remotely. However, the public is still strongly discouraged from attending court in person. Hearings and other proceedings will take place by video or audio conference unless otherwise directed. 

All trials scheduled in Provincial Court after July 3, 2020 will remain on the trial list and parties should attend court at 9am on the day their trial is scheduled. The Court will then decide which trials will proceed. Other non-trial appearances scheduled for after July 3, 2020, will proceed on the date scheduled, either in court or by phone. See the Court’s latest Notice to the Public for more details. Initial Criminal Appearances in the Fraser, Interior, Northern, and Vancouver Regions, will recommence at all reopened court locations effective June 15, 2020. For the Vancouver Island Region, they will recommence at all reopened court locations effective July 6, 2020. If an individual has a matter scheduled from June 15 to July 3, 2020, they do not need to attend court and their matter will be adjourned as set out in Appendix “A” of the Notice to the Public. For more about Initial Criminal Appearances, click HERE.

Court of Appeal

The BC Court of Appeal has continued its suspension of required time periods to commence civil or family proceedings. This means that until further notice you may start an appeal if you wish to do so, but, if you are unable to start an appeal, you can wait without concern until the end of the state of emergency. Parties should continue to file and serve notices of appeal or applications for leave to appeal in criminal matters within required time periods. The filing and service deadlines for all existing appeals, existing applications for leave to appeal, and other existing matters before the Court were suspended by direction of the Chief Justice. As of August 4, deadlines have been suspended until August 19, 2020. Also, parties may now request that their appeal hearing proceed in a courtroom or by Zoom videoconference. For more information, see theNotice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19.The Court of Appeal has also created a webinar to assist people with electronic filing.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

All Indigenous Court matters scheduled from May 19 to July 3, 2020 AND after July 3, 2020 (and May 11 and 15, 2020 in Duncan) will proceed on the date scheduled, by telephone or video unless the Court notifies you of different arrangements. See COVID-19: COMMENCING RECOVERY OF SOME COURT OPERATIONS for more information. 

The Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of BC is providing support during court closures. Contact your regional office for further assistance. 

 

 

Updated:
August 5, 2020

If you were to attend trial between March 19 and September 7, 2020 you no longer need to go at that time unless you are specifically told you should attend by the Court after April 16, 2020. 

The Supreme Court will resume criminal jury selections and trials on September 8, 2020 as explained in Notice No. 38

All civil jury selections are suspended and jury trials are cancelled up to and including January 1, 2021, everywhere in the province. See Notice No. 39 for more details. 

 

Updated:
August 5, 2020

At the beginning of the health emergency, the courts suspended regular activities. Recently, they have begun to open up the courts to more and more types of activities. The Provincial Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Appeal allow different levels of activity so it is important to check each court’s website for updates. You can go to bccourts.ca for the most updated information.

Provincial courts are working on expanding the types of matters that can be heard while ensuring that public health is protected.

As of July 13, 2020, Provincial Court registries will be accepting ALL filings at the applicable court registry either in-person or remotely (by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries under GEN 01 Practice Direction, or using Court Services Online where available). To protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options wherever possible. The Court is returning to the pre-COVID court process for having urgent matters come before the court.

Please note that the only matters that will be heard in-person are trials, unless otherwise ordered by a judge. Click HERE for the guide to remote proceedings. 

All trials scheduled in Provincial Court after July 3, 2020, will remain on the trial list and parties should attend court at 9am on the day their trial is scheduled. The Court will then decide which trials will proceed. Other non-trial appearances scheduled for after July 3, 2020, will proceed on the date scheduled, either in court or by phone. See Notice No. 19 for further scheduling details.

Note: Initial Criminal Appearances in the Fraser, Interior, Northern, and Vancouver Regions, will recommence at all reopened court locations effective June 15, 2020. For the Vancouver Island Region, they will recommence at all reopened court locations effective July 6, 2020. If an individual has a matter scheduled from June 15 to July 3, 2020, they do not need to attend court and their matter will be adjourned as set out in Appendix “A” of the Notice to the Public. For more about Initial Criminal Appearances, click HERE.

Starting July 13th the pre-COVID court process for having urgent matters come before the Court applies. The application for urgent hearing is discontinued. For further details, see NP 19 COVID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations. Check the Provincial Court of BC COVID-19 FAQs for updates.

Supreme Court began to run civil and family trials on June 8, 2020. Effective July 13, 2020, in-person registry services will resume at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia, and the interim process that the Court established for requesting a hearing of an urgent or essential matter will no longer be available. See Notice No. 33 (Criminal) and Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family) for more details. See COVID Notice NO. 32 for information regarding Registrar/Bankruptcy Hearings. Notice No. 40 (Civil and Family) explains how to schedule a trial management conference and what to file. 

All Supreme Court civil jury selections are suspended and jury trials are cancelled up to and including January 1, 2021. The Court will resume criminal jury selections and trials on September 8, 2020. 

The Court of Appeal has suspended all filing deadlines until August 19, 2020. The Court has also created a webinar to assist people with electronic filing.

For more information on the Attorney General’s response to COVID-19, including a list of emergency orders, changes to the law, and changes to justice services go HERE

 

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Most BC courts have suspended their regular operations. Many matters have been adjourned, but recently courts have begun to increase the types of matters they are hearing. Whether your matter will continue depends on what court you matter is in (e.g. Supreme or Provincial), the type of matter (criminal, civil, or family), and type of hearing (e.g. trial or pre-trial). Check the notices of the relevant court for details about upcoming hearings and adjournments.  

Most recent notice(s) for Provincial: No. 19 (Updated July 29, 2020), May 26, 2020 UpdateInitial Criminal Appearances CRIM 13

Most recent notice(s) for Supreme:  No. 28, No. 32, No. 33, No. 34No. 38No. 39, No. 40

Most recent notices(s) for Appeal: August 4, 2020 Update

In a child protection case all statutorily mandated matters, including the initial presentation hearing and the protection hearing, are urgent hearings and will proceed on the day they are scheduled by telephone.

You can go to bccourts.ca for the most updated information.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Effective April 15, 2020 the Minister of Public Safety renewed the order that mandatory limitation periods to commence civil and family matters in Provincial, Supreme, and Court of Appeal be suspended until the state of emergency ends. This suspension is in effect from March 18th 2020 to the date when the state of emergency is lifted. See the order HERE. See the Attorney General’s April 8th update HERE

Note: running of filing timelines for the Supreme Court resumed on May 29, 2020. 

Note: this DOES NOT apply to the Civil Resolution Tribunal, but may apply to other administrative tribunals. See the specific tribunal website to see if they have made any changes to limitation periods. To find the website see this directory of administrative tribunals. 

This DOES NOT apply to apply to mandatory limitation periods or other mandatory time periods under the Builders Lien Act.

For more information on the Attorney General’s response to COVID-19, including a list of emergency orders, changes to the law, and changes to justice services go HERE.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

It depends on which court your matter is in. 

Provincial Court

As of July 13, 2020, Provincial Court registries will be accepting ALL filings at the applicable court registry either in-person or remotely (by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries under GEN 01 Practice Direction, or using Court Services Online where available). To protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options wherever possible. The Court is returning to the pre-COVID court process for having urgent matters come before the court.

See also the Provincial Court’s new COVID-19 FAQ page. 

Supreme Court

Effective July 13, 2020, in-person registry services will resume at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia. While in-person filing is available, parties are strongly encouraged to use e-filing, or one of the other methods. See Notice No. 33 (Criminal) and Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family) for more details. See Notice No. 24 for how to e-file through Court Services Online. Click HERE for a list of all Supreme Court COVID-19 notices.

Court of Appeal

The BC Court of Appeal has continued its suspension of required time periods to commence civil or family proceedings. This means that until further notice you may start an appeal if you wish to do so, but, if you are unable to start an appeal, you can wait without concern until the end of the state of emergency. Parties should continue to file and serve notices of appeal or applications for leave to appeal in criminal matters within required time periods. The filing and service deadlines for all existing appeals, existing applications for leave to appeal, and other existing matters before the Court were suspended by direction of the Chief Justice. As of August 4, deadlines have been suspended until August 19, 2020. For more information, see the Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19.The Court of Appeal has also created a webinar to assist people with electronic filing.

 

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Check the Provincial Court of BC COVID-19 FAQs for updates.

As of July 13, 2020, Provincial Court registries will be accepting ALL filings at the applicable court registry either in-person or remotely (by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries under GEN 01 Practice Direction, or using Court Services Online where available). To protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options wherever possible. The Court is returning to the pre-COVID court process for having urgent matters come before the court.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

What happens to your criminal case depends on what type of appearance you have and when it was scheduled. Review the Provincial Court’s Notice to the Profession and Public for more details. If you do not have a lawyer, you can still apply for legal aid. It is strongly advised that you get a lawyer if you can. Please call your local Legal Aid office or call 1-866-577-2525(BC wide) or 604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver). 

Initial Appearances: Initial Criminal Appearances in Provincial Court are starting again. People having a first appearance on a criminal charge in Provincial Court on Vancouver Island from June 15 to July 3, 2020 do not need to attend court. It will be put off to a date listed for their court location in the Notice to the Profession and Public. People who have a first appearance on a criminal charge in Provincial Court on Vancouver Island on or after July 6, 2020 must attend court. People who have a first appearance on a criminal charge in Provincial Court in the rest of British Columbia (the Fraser, Interior, Northern and Vancouver Regions) on or after June 15, 2020 must attend court.  See HERE for more information on initial appearances.

Trials: All in custody and out of custody trials and trial continuation scheduled between March 23 and May 16, 2020 will be adjourned unless the accused or the Crown applies to the Judicial Case Manager and arranges to have the trial heard by telephone. Trials scheduled between May 19 to July 3, 2020 will either proceed on their scheduled day or be rescheduled. Trials scheduled after July 3, 2020, will proceed on their scheduled date. Counsel and self-represented litigants should attend court on the date scheduled at 9:00 AM to advise if they are ready to proceed that day. See the Notice to the Profession and Public for more information.

Sentencing and Bail: In-custody sentencings and bail hearings will continue to happen by telephone or video, unless a successful application is made by one of the parties.  

Out of custody appearances: Other than issues determined by a judge to be urgent, all out of custody criminal matters (initial appearances, remands, applications, trials, and sentencings) scheduled between March 18 and May 16, 2020 have been adjourned (postponed). Pre-trial conferences will be scheduled by the Judicial Case Manager.To find out when you need to go to court next review Appendix A of the Provincial Court’s Notice to the Profession and Public.  See also the BC Provincial Court’s new COVID-19 FAQ page. 

VERY IMPORTANT: For some courts, you need to contact the court on the day of your scheduled appearance. For other courts, Appendix A  of the Notice to the Profession and Public will list when your next court date will be. 

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Bylaw matters, that were commenced by an information (not a ticket), with hearings previously scheduled for March 18, 2020 and thereafter, are adjourned for rescheduling without the disputant having to attend Court. Parties will be sent a new notice of hearing that will include the date, time and location of the hearing. 

All matters commenced by a violation ticket (including motor vehicle violation tickets) with hearings previously scheduled for March 18, 2020 and thereafter were adjourned for rescheduling. The Court is now resuming scheduling these hearings in some locations. See Notice No. 19 for hearing dates or additional information relating to traffic and bylaw matters.

For additional information, see the BC Provincial Court’s new COVID-19 FAQ page. 

As of July 2, 2020 Provincial Court registries will accept all traffic court filings (electronically by email or fax or by mail). The Court Services Branch is continuing to examine when it can accept in person filings. See Notice No. 19 for more information.

To dispute a violation ticket, you can download a form and mail it in to:

Ticket Dispute Processing
Bag 3510
Victoria, B.C. V8W 3P7

Updated:
August 5, 2020

The timeline to pay fines related to a BC Provincial Court traffic, ticket or bylaw case was extended to July 15, 2020.

For information on how to pay a traffic or bylaw ticket online or by phone see here

To pay parking tickets see the information on the back of your ticket.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

All regular court operations are suspended until further notice. The Court will hear urgent and essential matters, but has begun to expand the types of issues that can be heard. Be sure to check HERE for updated information on the BC Supreme Court.

  • Family and Civil Matters and Insolvency Matters: All civil and family trials scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020 will resume, unless the Court otherwise directs. Contact your registry for more information. Effective July 13, 2020, the Request for Urgent Hearing process for civil, family and insolvency matters will no longer be available. Parties who have emergency applications should follow the processes set out in Notice No. 34All civil jury selections are suspended and jury trials are cancelled up to and including January 1, 2021.                                                           
  • Effective June 30, the Court will resume registrar hearings. For more information, click HERE.

  • Criminal Matters: During the suspension of regular court operations, the Court established a temporary process to manage requests for hearings of essential or urgent criminal matters while registries were not providing in-person services. Effective July 13, 2020, the request for an urgent hearing process will be discontinued and the regular processes will resume except as noted in Notice No. 33. The Court will resume criminal jury selections and trials on September 8, 2020. See Notice No. 38.

Continue to check the BC Supreme Court website for updates.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Effective July 13, 2020, in-person registry services will resume at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia, and the interim process that the Court established for requesting a hearing of an urgent or essential matter will no longer be available. See Notice No. 33 (Criminal) and Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family) for more details.Be sure to check HERE for updated information on the BC Supreme Court.

With the resumption of chambers as set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 28 dated July 13, 2020, as of June 18, 2020 the Request for Urgent Hearing process is only available for urgent applications on short notice ("short leave applications") under Rule 8-5 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-9 of the Supreme Court Family Rules. Other applications should be made through regular chambers.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Parties may now request that their appeal hearing proceed in a courtroom or by Zoom videoconference. See the Court of Appeal website for up to date information on closures and modified procedure during the COVID-19 crisis. On August 4, 2020, the Chief Justice of BC issued an updated  Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19. On May 14, 2020, the Court published a Notice to the Public Regarding Video Conference Proceedings in the Court of Appeal which explains how you can observe Court of Appeal hearings if you wish. Please review for updated information on the Court of Appeal’s operations. 

While service and filing deadlines are now suspended until  August 19, 2020, the registry is still accepting filings. The Court of Appeal has also created a webinar to assist people with electronic filing.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

YES. You can still apply to the Civil Resolution Tribunal. The CRT expects to function mostly as usual at this time given that most of their operations are online already. 

Things are always changing so be sure to check the CRT website for updates.  If you have questions contact the CRT by phone 1-844-322-2292 or by filing in this form.

Updated:
August 5, 2020

NO. Limitation periods for the CRT are still in place. The order of the Minister of Public Safety says that administrative tribunals can decide for themselves whether or not to suspend their mandatory limitation periods during the state of emergency. Section 2 of the order suspends limitation periods and other mandatory deadlines for starting a legal proceeding in court. This does not apply to the CRT and limitation periods and other mandatory time periods continue to apply.

The CRT has so far said that they expect to operate normally and will not be suspending their limitation periods during the state of emergency given that most of their work is already online. They do, however,  have discretion to extend time periods on a case-by-case basis.

The CRT will also consider waiving fees for people who cannot afford CRT fees due to COVID-19. If you file your application for dispute resolution late because of the pandemic, explain this in your application. If you are a party to a CRT dispute and you need an extension of time or cannot pay, due to COVID-19, just contact them with your Dispute Number and the reason for your request.

See HERE for more details on the CRT’s position on limitation periods.
See HERE for the Attorney General’s press release regarding CRT deadlines and fees.

As of  June 1, 2020, requests for default decisions and orders are being processed based on the date the dispute became eligible for a party to request a default decision and order.

Things are always changing so be sure to check the CRT website and the CRT COVID-19 Response for updates.  If you have questions contact the CRT by phone 1-844-322-2292 or by filing in this form.

For more information on the Attorney General’s response to COVID-19, including a list of emergency orders, changes to the law, and changes to justice services go HERE

Updated:
August 5, 2020

Each tribunal (such as the Residential Tenancy Branch, the Employment Standards Branch, and Immigration and Refugee Board)  will have to decide whether it can continue normal operations or not. You must check the tribunal’s website for information on how and if the tribunal’s operations will continue during the crisis.

Note that while limitation periods are suspended for courts,  tribunals get to decide whether they will suspend their own limitation periods. Therefore it is important to go straight to the particular tribunal for information. To find a tribunal website see this directory of administrative tribunals.

For more information on the Attorney General’s response to COVID-19, including a list of emergency orders, changes to the law, and changes to justice services go HERE

Source:
Updated:
August 5, 2020

MediateBC has a new Quarantine Conflict Resolution Service to help people in isolation deal with matters arising out of the COVID-19 crisis. Registered mediators are providing mediation over phone, email, or online platforms, at significantly discounted rates. Go to MediateBC to sign up.

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