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Courts & Tribunals

Updated:
November 25, 2020

Effective November 24, 2020, all people attending courthouses in BC are  required to wear masks while inside a courthouse. For more detail, see the joint announcement from the chief judge and justices of the Provincial Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Appeal here.

Source:
Updated:
November 25, 2020

Because of COVID-19, most Provincial Court proceedings are being handled remotely. A remote proceeding means your hearing or case conference matter may be conducted by: 

  • a phone call from the court 
  • a conference call through Telus 
  • an audioconference or videoconference through Microsoft Teams

If you’re not sure how your matter will proceed, contact your court registry.

The Provincial Court of BC has provided a Guide to Remote Proceedings, Virtual Hearing Q&As and additional articles to help individuals prepare for virtual hearings and conferences. 

Note on Court of Appeal: Effective November 9, 2020, and until further notice, all appeal hearings will be heard via Zoom unless otherwise directed. Parties must continue to follow all other directions set out in the various Public Notices of the Court of Appeal. Please complete the Court Proceedings Form at least seven days before the hearing date with an indication of videoconference as the preferred mode of hearing until further notice. Parties who have already scheduled an in person hearing will be contacted by the registry.

See Legal Aid BC’s remote proceeding tips to help you as you prepare to attend a remote court proceeding.

Updated:
November 25, 2020

The Courts have put in place a number of cleaning, health screening, and physical distancing protocols. See Notice 22 for Provincial Court protocols, Notice 27 for BC Supreme Court protocols, and COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations for details. Effective November 24, 2020, all people attending courthouses in BC are required to wear masks while inside a courthouse.

Note: Counsel and self represented parties must also be in a position to confirm that to their knowledge, no one involved on their side traveled outside Canada within 14 days of their anticipated in-person appearance in a courtroom.

Updated:
November 25, 2020

Supreme Court

In-person registry services have resumed 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 is no longer available. See Notice No. 33 (Criminal) and Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family)for more details.

If you estimate your matter will take two hours or less, you can apply for a chambers hearing by phone conference. See Chambers applications during COVID-19 for instructions on how to make a new application or response, or reset an adjourned application.

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

Provincial Court

The Provincial Court has returned to the pre-COVID court process for having urgent matters come before the court. Provincial Court registries are now 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. 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 (October 9) for more information. 

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

Updated:
November 25, 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. Effective November 25, 2020, all people attending courthouses in BC are required to wear masks while inside a courthouse. For further information, see the Notice to the Profession and Public.

Updated:
November 25, 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:
November 25, 2020

Courts have resumed their usual activities, either in-person or virtually. Courts are following strict health and safety protocols to ensure that the courts remain safe for everyone. Counsel and self represented parties must also be in a position to confirm that to their knowledge, no one involved on their side traveled outside Canada within 14 days of their anticipated in-person appearance in a courtroom. Effective November 24, 2020, all people attending courthouses in BC are required to wear masks while inside a courthouse. 

Supreme Court

See HERE for a full index of Supreme Court notices. See In Court Measures During the Pandemic for health protocols and guidance.

In-person registry services have resumed 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 is no longer 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 October 1, 2021. The Court resumed criminal jury selections and trials on September 8, 2020. The majority of chambers matters will take place by telephone conference, including Judicial Case Conferences, already scheduled chambers matters, and trial management conferences. 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.

See HERE for information regarding how to book a judicial management conference or trial management conference. Both are currently being held by telephone.

If you estimate your matter will take two hours or less, you can apply for a chambers hearing by phone conference. See Chambers applications during COVID-19 for instructions on how to make a new application or response, or reset an adjourned application.

 

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 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. For a summary of updates, see Provincial Court during COVID-19.

Provincial Court registries are 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. Counsel and self represented parties must also be in a position to confirm that to their knowledge, no one involved on their side traveled outside Canada within 14 days of their anticipated in-person appearance in a courtroom. 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. 

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. 

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 final extension for filing and service deadlines for all existing appeals, existing applications for leave to appeal, and other existing matters before the Court was September 14, 2020. Also, parties may now request that their appeal hearing proceed in a courtroom or by Zoom videoconference. 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:
November 25, 2020

All First Nations/Indigenous Courts matters will remain on the date scheduled unless otherwise notified by the court. The court will be hearing these matters by audioconference or videoconference without the participants attending court in-person until further notice. 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:
November 25, 2020

The Supreme Court has resumed 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 October 1, 2021, everywhere in the province. See BC Government update for more details. 

 

Updated:
November 25, 2020

Most BC courts have returned to their regular operations, but there are enhanced safety measures in place. The majority of hearings are taking place virtually on the date scheduled. Check the notices of the relevant court for details about upcoming hearings and adjournments.  

Most recent notice(s) for Provincial: No. 19 (Updated October 9, 2020), May 26, 2020 UpdateCriminal Pre-trial Conferences CRIM 12, Initial Criminal Appearances CRIM 13

Most recent notice(s) for Supreme: No. 27No. 32, No. 33, No. 34No. 38No. 40

Most recent notices(s) for Appeal: November 6, 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.

If you are still unsure whether your matter will proceed, please contact your respective courthouse, litigator or case manager.

Updated:
November 25, 2020

Mandatory limitation periods to commence civil and family matters in Provincial, Supreme, and Court of Appeal be suspended. On August 4th, the Lieutenant Governor announced that the suspension will end 90 days AFTER the state of emergency ends. This suspension is in effect from March 18th 2020 to 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.See the August 4, 2020 Order.

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:
November 25, 2020

Yes, all filings are being accepted by all levels of court in BC. Effective November 24, 2020, all people attending courthouses in BC are required to wear masks while inside a courthouse. 

Provincial Court

Provincial Court registries are 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 Information page. 

Supreme Court

In-person registry services have resumed 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 suspension will remain in effect until 45 days after the state of emergency.  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 up to 45 days after 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 19, deadlines have been suspended until September 14, 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:
November 25, 2020

Provincial Court registries are 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. 

Updated:
November 25, 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: Depending on the matter, you may be required to appear in-person. However, the Court has suggested alternatives to in-person appearances. See HERE for more information on initial appearances.

Trials: In-custody and out-of-custody trials and trial continuations will remain on the trial list on the date scheduled. Counsel and self-represented litigants are to attend Court in-person on the date scheduled at 9:00 AM to advise if they are ready to proceed that day. Witnesses and parties represented by counsel are to wait outside the courthouse (within a 30 minute distance) and be prepared to be called to attend court in-person. The Court will determine which trials will proceed. 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:

For out of custody matters where the accused (out of custody) and counsel agree to appear by audioconference or videoconference, and the prosecutor and defence counsel have agreed to seek a sentence that does not involve any incarceration but may factor in time already spent in custody and include a one day jail sentence where the accused is not taken into custody or a conditional sentence order, in order to schedule these dispositions, defence counsel must: 

  • Complete the “Request for Resolution of Matters” Form; 
  • File the completed Form to the applicable local court registry; and 
  • Provide a means by which the accused will receive a printed copy of any court order(s). For example, this could be an email, fax or mailing address for the accused or their counsel. 

A Judicial Case Manager will contact counsel to schedule the hearing by audioconference or videoconference before a judge. See the Notice to the Profession and Public for more information.

VERY IMPORTANT: For some courts, you need to contact the court on the day of your scheduled appearance. 

Updated:
November 25, 2020

As of July 2020 traffic court matters have been proceeding. Starting in June parties have been sent a new notice of hearing that will include the date, time and location (including the address) of the hearing. Start times will be staggered so that all participants are not at the hearing location at the same time. Parties who receive a notice of hearing and require interpreter services for their hearing must contact the Violation Ticket Center at 1-877-661-8026 prior to their hearing date. Effective November 24, 2020, all people attending courthouses in BC are required to wear masks while inside a courthouse. 

See Notice No. 19 for additional information relating to traffic and bylaw matters.

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

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:
November 25, 2020

You must pay your fine by the deadline given.

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:
November 25, 2020

Most courts have returned to their regular operations, but there are enhanced safety measures in place. 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 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.  The Court resumed criminal jury selections and trials on September 8, 2020. See Notice No. 38.

Continue to check the BC Supreme Court website for updates.

Updated:
November 25, 2020

In-person registry services have resumed at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia. 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. Effective November 24, 2020, all people attending courthouses in BC are required to wear masks while inside a courthouse. 

Updated:
November 25, 2020

Effective November 9, 2020, and until further notice, all appeal hearings will be heard via Zoom unless otherwise directed. Parties must continue to follow all other directions set out in the various Public Notices of the Court of Appeal. Please complete the Court Proceedings Form at least seven days before the hearing date with an indication of videoconference as the preferred mode of hearing until further notice. Parties who have already scheduled an in person hearing will be contacted by the registry.

See the Court of Appeal website for up to date information on closures and modified procedure during the COVID-19 crisis. On August 19, 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. 

Service and filing deadlines were suspended until September 14, 2020. All filings must now be submitted by their respective deadlines.. The Court of Appeal has also created a webinar to assist people with electronic filing.

Updated:
November 25, 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:
November 25, 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.

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:
November 25, 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:
November 25, 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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