Coronavirus: Alberta courts limit hearings to emergency, urgent matters only
Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench is suspending all sittings except for urgent or emergency matters as the province and country work to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Court announced on March 13 that new jury trials and jury selections were being suspended, but the restrictions were expanded on Sunday.
In an updated online notice, the Court said: Eemergency matters are those in which serious consequences to persons or harm to property may arise if the hearing does not proceed, or if there is a risk of loss of jurisdiction or expiration of an existing protection or restraining order.”
According to the Court, urgent or emergency matters include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Orders where there is a risk of violence or immediate harm to one of the parties or a child
- Orders where there is a risk of removal of a child from the jurisdiction
- Emergency Protection Order reviews
- Orders relating to the coronavirus pandemic, including quarantine orders
- Injunctions, where there is prima facie urgency, including refusal of treatment/end of life matters
- Civil restraining orders
- Preservation orders
- Urgent orders in the nature of habeas corpus, certiorari, mandamus and prohibition
- Emergency adult guardianship and trusteeship orders, where there is a risk of harm to an individual or their property
- Detention and bail review orders
- Wiretap, production and related orders
- Fresh arrest warrants, and matters where the accused are in pre-trial custody
The Court said several matters that aren’t urgent are still being prioritized to be “addressed in a timely way in the context of a reduction in services,” such as:
- Arraignments, including for in-custody accused
- Urgent adult guardianship and trusteeship orders
- Receivership/CCAA stay extensions
- Urgent surrogate orders
- Anton Piller or Mareva-type injunctions
- Freezing orders
Those who feel their matter is urgent or an emergency are advised to contact officials in their region to schedule a hearing.
Calgary, Drumheller, Grande Prairie: 403-297-6267
Edmonton, St. Paul, Hinton, Peace River, Fort McMurray, High Level: 780-427-0629
Red Deer, Wetaskiwin: 403-340-7980
Lethbridge, Medicine Hat: 403-382-4156
The Court won’t be making any new bookings for cases that aren’t urgent or emergent between March 16 and March 27.
Any proceedings currently underway in Family, Justice and Masters Chambers have been adjourned until further notice, as have civil trials that haven’t yet started.
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