Two Alberta courts are postponing cases in response to the province’s surging COVID-19 pandemic.
One day after the Alberta government announced a raft of new restrictions, the Alberta provincial court and the Court of Queen’s Bench announced certain trials and other matters will be adjourned for at least three weeks starting next Monday.
“In light of increasing case counts, the rise in variants, the ongoing risk to all justice (system) participants and the increased difficulty in having counsel, parties and witnesses attend in court, further restrictions on court operations are now required,” the provincial court said in a statement.
In Queen’s Bench, all in-person trials currently underway will continue, along with matters that are being heard remotely.
All in-person cases that have yet to begin, including jury trials, will be adjourned. Exceptions include previously scheduled criminal matters and sentencing hearings involving a person in custody, scheduled emergency protection and restraining order hearings and “unusual and urgent” cases that have received approval from a senior justice.
The Queen’s Bench restrictions run until the week of May 24 but are subject to change.
At the provincial court level, all criminal, civil, family, youth and child protection trials requiring in-person testimony are being rescheduled, except in cases where an accused is in custody, or if the case is otherwise urgent.
All other proceedings including pre-trial processes, applications and dockets will continue remotely. The new rules are effective next Monday and run to May 28.