B.C. provincial court reduces operations to curb coronavirus spread

The Provincial Court of British Columbia is following in the footsteps of other provincial courts by postponing trials and reducing operations to help contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Only urgent cases will proceed normally, such as family matters involving restraining orders and child protection, search warrants and production order applications, urgent small claims such as outstanding warrants, and other criminal matters that a judge deems urgent.

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The B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal are also asking lawyers and their clients to consider adjourning all matters scheduled between now and May 31 “that do not urgently need to proceed.”

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For cases already in progress, the B.C. Supreme Court says the presiding judge will consider whether the trial should continue, or be stood down “for a period of time.”

Jury selections for Supreme Court trials will also be cancelled until the end of May across the province. Trials that wish to proceed with juries will be given priority for rescheduling once operations resume.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice is suspending juries for upcoming trials amid increasing cases of COVID-19 in that province.

— With files from John Copsey, Sean Boynton and Richard Zussman

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