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.
Starting July 2 traffic court filings can be made by email, mail or fax. Starting July 8 Provincial Court family and criminal court filings can be made by email, mail or fax. Starting July 13 small claims filings can be made by email, mail, fax or using CSO. And there’s a new, faster process for applications to change child or spousal support orders related to COVID. See Notice No. 19 (July 2) for more information regarding the Provincial Court’s current operations and how to make filings. 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.
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 8th for family and criminal filings, and July 13th for small claims, 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 will begin to run some civil and family trials again on June 8, 2020. See COVID Notice No. 25 and COVID-19 Notice No. 26 dated June 3, 2020 for civil and family matters for more information on what trials will be able to go forward. See COVID Notice NO. 32 for information regarding Registrar/Bankruptcy Hearings.
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.
The Court of Appeal has suspended all filing deadlines until July 27, 2020.
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.