COVID-19 Update From Tarnow Criminal Law
COVID-19 has impacted the Canadian legal system from all angles, effecting all areas of practice including the criminal justice system.
Since the courts curtailed operations on March 18, our office has been committed to staying apprised of all developments. We will update this page frequently as new information becomes available.
As of May 11, 2020:
No in-person trials will proceed unless otherwise directed by a Judge. All in-custody trials and trial continuations that were set between March 16 and May 29, 2020 have been adjourned.
Pre-Trial Conferences (“PTC”) will now be mandatory and will be used to determine the following:
- If setting a trial date is necessary, or if the matter can be resolved in pre-trial discussions;
- Feasibility of conducting the trial virtually or through written submissions;
- How much court time will be required for a trial
*Summary proceedings (those scheduled for a half day or less) are exempt from a mandatory PTC
These efforts are intended to alleviate the pressure of the backlog that has been created by COVID19. As mentioned in our blog, the BC court system was already facing severe scheduling conflicts prior to the virus, which have now been compounded.
Noting the exception of summary proceedings, all criminal cases will now require a PTC prior to the scheduling of a Preliminary Hearing or Trial.
The most recent update from the Provincial Court of British Columbia can be found here.
All criminal matters scheduled for type of appearance up to and including May 29, 2020, are adjourned, with the exception of:
- Scheduled for dates before May 29, 2020 will proceed as scheduled by telephone
Regular Fix-Date Appearances
- Resumed as of May 4, 2020, at usual date and time by telephone
Summary conviction appeals and Traffic ticket appeals
- To proceed by telephone when possible/appropriate
Essential and Urgent criminal matters
- Judicial Interim Release (bail) and Bail Review Hearings;
- Scheduling and detention review hearings under s.525 of the Criminal Code;
- Applications by in-custody accused persons and offenders requiring urgent attention;
- Applications for search/arrest warrants, other related applications that should not be delayed
All jury selections are cancelled up to and including September 7, 2020.
COURT OF APPEAL
The BC Court of Appeal began hearing matters again via Zoom on May 4, 2020.
While COVID-19 has presented many challenges to the way we conduct business, our office remains open to serve clients in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.