Response of BC Courts to the COVID-19 Pandemic – Court Access and Policies

In response to the COVID-19 situation, the BC Provincial Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Appeal have each limited or suspended regular operations to comply with government directives on social distancing. For more information and updates from the Courts, please visit the BC Courts website.

BC Provincial Court

The BC Provincial Court has limited its operations such that only urgent matters will continue to be heard (by telephone). For a full list of matters that have been determined by the Provincial Court to be urgent and more details on the procedure for determining what constitutes an urgent matter, click here. This link also provides details regarding the Provincial Court’s access restrictions, practice for filing materials, and other procedural changes.

Case conferences, including family case conferences, family management conferences, small claims settlement conferences and trial conferences scheduled between March 16 and May 16, 2020 are adjourned. Also, non-urgent family and small claims matters (including trials and simplified trials) scheduled between March 18 and May 16, 2020 are adjourned until further notice.

Regarding the filing of materials, the Provincial Court is not accepting materials for filing in-person. Filings for urgent matters will be accepted online, by fax, or by mail. The Court is not accepting materials for filing of new non-urgent criminal, family, or small claims matters between March 18 and May 16, 2020.

BC Supreme Court

Except for matters that have been designated by the Court as essential and urgent, all civil and family matters (including trials, chambers hearings, and conferences) scheduled between March 19 and May 1, 2020 are adjourned until further notice.

To request a hearing for an essential and urgent matter, an applicant will be required to complete a two-step procedure online. For a full list of matters that have been deemed by the Supreme Court as essential and urgent and more details on the procedure for requesting a hearing, click here.

BC Court of Appeal

Unless otherwise designated, all Court of Appeal hearings scheduled between March 18 and May 1, 2020 are adjourned until further notice. The Court of Appeal has designated certain matters that must proceed, which include certain urgent criminal matters and family matters involving child protection. Such designated matters will proceed by telephone or in writing.

Although filing and service deadlines for existing matters (except for designated matters) are suspended until May 4, 2020, parties should continue to serve and file new notices of appeal or applications for leave to appeal within the required time periods. New filings will only be accepted by the Court electronically.

For more information regarding the Court of Appeal procedures in response to the COVID-19 situation, please click here.

Categories: COVID-19