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The Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan is committed to taking the steps necessary to safeguard the health of everyone in our courtrooms and court facilities while ensuring access to justice, upholding the rule of law, and continuing court operations as effectively and efficiently as possible.
As such, in response to the most recent information available concerning the public health risks posed by novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Chief Justice M. D. Popescul has issued this directive and advisory respecting Court of Queen’s Bench operations. It applies to all Court of Queen’s Bench judicial centres throughout the province.
The Court will continue to monitor the situation related to COVID-19 and will update this directive and advisory from time to time.
• This directive takes effective immediately.
Symptoms related to COVID-19
• Information on the symptoms related to COVID-19 can be found on the Provincial Government’s website at: https://www.saskatchewan.ca
• Court houses remain open to the public and press and media may attend proceedings. However, court visits by classes and other groups have been cancelled effective immediately. To reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, it is recommended that only those persons who are necessary to the proceedings before the Court attend.
• Parties with scheduled matters including trials, pre-trial conferences and hearings are encouraged, where appropriate, to adjourn those matters to a future date.
• Further, if any person either has symptoms associated with COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone who has symptoms, they are asked not to come to the Court House. If the person has a scheduled court matter that has not otherwise been postponed in accordance with this directive, they should contact the appropriate Local Registrar’s Office through their lawyer (if they have one) or by phone to either make arrangements to appear by phone or to determine if their matter is or will be adjourned.
Jury Trials Postponed
• All jury trials scheduled to commence between March 16, 2020, and May 30, 2020, will be postponed. Any person who has been summoned to attend Court for jury duty for a matter scheduled before May 30, 2020, are not to attend Court.
• The adjournment of jury trials will be spoken to in Court or by video or audio conference on the date the matter was originally set for trial.
• Jury trials that were commenced before March 16, 2020, and are underway shall continue as scheduled subject to the discretion of the trial judge.
• For affected criminal cases, arrangements may be made for a re-election to trial by judge alone, if the accused wishes to proceed on that basis, and the trial will proceed during the scheduled time period (if there is no other bar to the matter so proceeding). If there is no re-election and the trial must therefore be adjourned until after May 31, the Court will give the case priority for rescheduling once normal operations resume.
Civil and Family Chambers
• Parties to a proceeding that does not urgently need to proceed, are encouraged to delay bringing new applications to civil and family chambers (including matters involving maintenance enforcement and Inter-jurisdictional support orders) and to adjourn those already scheduled to a future date so long as the provincial government’s restriction respecting public gatherings remain in place.
• Effective immediately and until further notice, all participants in regularly scheduled civil and family chamber applications (other than child protection chambers) are required to attend by phone. Participants are expected to be available by phone at the commencement of chambers until they are called. The Local Registrar will call them at the phone number set out in their address for service unless the participant makes arrangements with the local registrar to be contacted at another number.
• Child Protection Chamber matters scheduled for the week of March 16, 2020, to March 20, 2020, are postponed. All matters on the list for this week will be rescheduled by the Court to a future date and no person is required to attend court to speak to re-scheduling a matter. Parties will be contacted by the Local Registrar this week and will be advised when their matter will be heard.
Pre-Trial Conferences, Trials, and other scheduled matters.
• All conferences, trials and other hearings that are currently scheduled will continue. A party wishing to seek an adjournment should contact the Local Registrar so that the question of whether a matter may be adjourned can be decided. Should the Court determine that a matter should be adjourned due to the implications of COVID-19, the Local Registrar will notify the parties to attend a teleconference to discuss alternate scheduling.
• Also, in consultation with Court Services, the Court is encouraging the use of video and audio appearances for individuals in custody.
• The Court will permit, when appropriate, applications to adjourn criminal proceedings, whether by consent or contested by telephone or video appearance. Criminal proceedings adjourned because of COVID-19 will receive priority for re-scheduling.
Local Registrar Services
• Effective immediately and until further notice, personal access to the offices of the Local Registrar is restricted and the following procedures will be implemented:
Chief Justice M.D. Popescul