All judges and other judicial officers in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and Provincial Court of BC have received the full series of accepted COVID-19 vaccines, or a full series of a combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Government of Canada.
All judicial and court staff, as well as service providers accessing the secure (non-public) areas of all courthouses will be required to have received the full series of accepted COVID-19 vaccines commencing November 22, 2021. This is consistent with the recent BC Public Service announcement that as of November 22, 2021 all public service employees, including court staff, will be vaccinated.
- June 30, 2021 - UPDATED NOTICES AND CHANGES TO MODIFIED PROCEDURES
In response to changing pandemic conditions and public feedback, the Court of Appeal has made the following changes in its COVID-19 Notices:
1. Hearings will take place in courtrooms
Beginning July 12, 2021, appeal hearings and chambers proceedings will take place in person in the courtroom, unless parties apply or elect to appear remotely.
2. Parties may apply for permission or elect to appear remotely
For appeals, a party may seek the Court’s permission to appear by video conference by filing a Request to Appear Remotely at least ten (10) business days before the appeal hearing. There are no teleconference appearances for appeals.
For chambers proceedings, a party may elect to appear remotely by video or teleconference by checking a box on the Request to Appear Remotely and filing the completed form together with their notice of motion, or, if they are responding to the application, at least two (2) business days before the hearing.
3. Lawyers should gown
Lawyers should gown for appeal hearings whether they are appearing in person or by video. This change will ensure consistency in presentation when some parties appear in the courtroom and others appear by video.
4. Attend the courtroom in person to observe hearings
As all hearings return to the courtroom, including where one or more parties appear by video conference, the Court’s weekly hearing list will no longer include Zoom video links. Observers should check the weekly hearing list and attend the courtroom in person. Physical distancing and facemask requirements in courtrooms remain in effect.
The Court understands that providing video links to Zoom proceedings during the pandemic made appeal hearings easier to access and will be considering accessibility to court proceedings on an ongoing basis. Media continue to have the option of requesting remote access to digital audio recordings of court proceedings.
5. Filing directions for condensed books and authorities clarified
Directions regarding condensed books and authorities are clarified, but have not been substantially changed, in the updated Notice Regarding Modified Filing Directions in Civil and Criminal Appeals.
6. COVID-19 Overview of the Appeal Process Flowchart updated
Footnotes added to the appeal process flowchart have been updated to reflect the new procedural steps detailed in the Court’s COVID-19 Notices.
- June 15, 2021 - COURT OF APPEAL SEEKS FEEDBACK ON MODIFIED PROCEDURES WITH COVID-19 PUBLIC SURVEY. The Court of Appeal has launched a public survey to receive feedback on its modified procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Answers to the survey will remain anonymous and will be used internally by the Court to assist in its pandemic recovery strategy. Questions regarding this survey or other feedback in relation to the Court’s COVID-19 response may be directed to the Court’s Communications Officer. The survey will remain open until July 30, 2021.
- May 19, 2021 - AMENDMENT TO THREE COURTS' POLICY ON USE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES IN COURTROOMS. The Three Courts’ Policy on Use of Electronic Devices in Courtrooms confirms that an electronic device may not be used in a courtroom to digitally transcribe a proceeding, and has been amended to clarify that this includes making a transcript using video conference software. The amended Policy may be found here.
- April 9, 2021 - CRIMINAL E-FILING, ONLINE BOOKING OF APPEALS, UPDATED NOTICES AND COVID-19 LANDING PAGE. Criminal e-filing and online booking of appeals will take effect on April 12, 2021.
1. For e-filing, review the revised Notice Regarding Modified Filing Directions in Civil and Criminal Appeals and note the following changes:
- Effective Monday, April 12, 2021, criminal e-filing is optional for all. The same formatting and filing requirements apply to criminal e-filings as apply to civil e-filings.
- Counsel or litigants can now e-file materials for civil or criminal appeals that are sealed or where there are publication bans in place.
- Directions regarding condensed books have been clarified. The Court prefers to receive full authorities rather than excerpts of authorities in condensed books.
- Directions regarding bookmarking and page numbering have been clarified, including required bookmarking and bates numbering on documents of 25 pages or less.
2. For online booking of appeals, visit the Court of Appeal scheduling page and note the following changes:
3. The Court of Appeal has made minor amendments to the Notice Regarding Video Conference Proceedings and the Notice Regarding Access to Court Proceedings During COVID-19.
4. The Court of Appeal has changed the layout of its COVID-19 ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NOTICES landing page to improve access to the relevant Notices and resources related to: (1) Modified Court of Appeal Procedures due to COVID-19; (2) How to File Materials; (3) Instructions for Video Conferencing (Zoom); and Access to Court Proceedings (Media and the Public).
- January 22, 2021 - COVID-19 OVERVIEW OF THE APPEAL PROCESS. This flowchart provides an overview of the appeal process. Notes have been added to help people understand how the appeal process has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The notes have been updated to reflect changes to the suspension of timelines for existing and new appeals.
- January 21, 2021 - PROTOCOL FOR COMMUNICATION AND TESTING RELATED TO COVID-19 IN COURTHOUSES. In light of concerns raised by the BC Courts, counsel and other courthouse users about the need for timely and coordinated communication about COVID-19 testing and exposures in courthouses, the three levels of Court and Court Services Branch met with senior health officials and have created a protocol that is now in effect. See the Protocol here.
- December 21, 2020 - UPDATE: DEADLINE FOR FILING NEW APPEALS. On 21 December 2020, the government issued Order in Council 655/2020, which repeals the suspension of timelines for filing a new appeal on March 25, 2021. The Court has updated its Regarding the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19 to reflect this change. It has also made changes to its Notice to the Public Regarding Access to Court Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic to reflect that all appeals are currently taking place by videoconference only until further notice (as previously announced).
- November 25, 2020 - UPDATE: FACE MASKS OR FACE COVERINGS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA COURTHOUSES. Effective immediately, people attending courthouses in British Columbia are required to wear a face mask or face covering, including in entrances, lobbies, waiting areas, registries, hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators. In addition, people are required to wear a face mask or face covering in courtrooms unless the presiding judge, justice, master or registrar directs otherwise.
Face masks or face coverings must be worn in a manner that cover a person’s nose and mouth. If you do not have a face mask or face covering, Sheriffs will provide one when you enter the courthouse. While wearing a face mask or face covering can reduce the spread of infection, it does not substitute for physical distancing, which must be maintained whenever possible. The requirement to wear a face mask or face covering does not apply:
- to a child who is less than twelve years of age,
- to a person who is unable to wear a face mask or face covering because of (i) a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or (ii) a physical, cognitive or mental impairment,
- to a person who is unable to put on or remove a face mask or face covering without the assistance of another person,
- if the face mask or face covering is removed temporarily for the purpose of identifying the person wearing it.
In addition, all people attending courthouses in British Columbia are asked to be familiar with all health and safety protocols and to cooperate in following them in order to protect everyone in courthouses in this province.
- November 9, 2020 - APPEAL HEARINGS TO PROCEED BY VIDEOCONFERENCE. Effective immediately and until further notice, all appeal hearings will be heard via Zoom unless otherwise directed. The Chief Justice of British Columbia makes this direction in response to the recent BC public health order aimed at minimizing travel and social contact and encouraging people to work from home where possible. Parties must continue to follow all other directions set out in the various Public Notices of the Court of Appeal. Please complete the Court Proceedings Form at least seven days before the hearing date with an indication of videoconference as the preferred mode of hearing until further notice. Parties who have already scheduled an in person hearing will be contacted by the registry.
- November 6, 2020 - FACE MASKS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA COURTHOUSES. Chief Justice Bauman, Chief Justice Hinkson and Chief Judge Gillespie have jointly issued the following statement on behalf of all courts in British Columbia:
Effective Monday, November 9, 2020, people attending courthouses in British Columbia are strongly encouraged to wear face masks, including in entrances, waiting areas, registries, hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators. If you do not have a face mask, Sheriffs will provide one when you enter the courthouse. While wearing a face mask can reduce the spread of infection, it does not substitute for physical distancing, which must be maintained whenever possible. Children under two years of age, persons with a medical condition or disability that inhibits wearing a face mask and persons who are unable to place or remove a face mask without assistance are exempt. In addition, while inside individual courtrooms the presiding judge, justice, master or registrar in a courtroom may modify this recommendation. All people attending courthouses in British Columbia are asked to be familiar with all health and safety protocols and to cooperate in observing them in order to protect everyone in courthouses in this province.
- August 19, 2020 - UPDATED NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC - SERVICE AND FILING DEADLINES FURTHER SUSPENDED FROM 19 AUGUST TO 14 SEPTEMBER 2020. This updated Notice to the Public replaces the Notice to the Public issued by the Chief Justice of British Columbia on 4 August 2020. The suspension of service and filing deadlines for existing appeals and chambers applications started on 18 March 2020 and is being extended a final time from 19 August 2020 to 14 September 2020. The suspension of service and filing deadlines will not be further extended. This means that the required time periods to file or serve materials for existing appeals will not start to run again until 14 September 2020. Beginning 14 September you will have the same amount of time to file and serve materials as you would have been entitled to on 18 March 2020.
Note that the suspension of time periods to commence civil or family proceedings started on 26 March 2020 pursuant to Ministerial Order No. M098 and will remain in effect until 45 days after the state of emergency declared under s. 9(1) of the Emergency Program Act on 18 March 2020 expires or is cancelled. For further details review Order in Council 0453 and the Covid-19 Related Measures Act, s. SBC 2020, c.8.
- June 10, 2020 - UPDATED NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC - SERVICE AND FILING DEADLINES FURTHER SUSPENDED FROM 15 JUNE TO 29 JUNE 2020. This updated Notice to the Public replaces the Notice to the Public issued by the Chief Justice of British Columbia on 27 May 2020. The suspension of service and filing deadlines for existing appeals and chambers applications started on 18 March 2020 and is being extended from 15 June 2020 to 29 June 2020. No other information regarding filing instructions, video conference appeals, or teleconference chambers applications has changed.
- May 27, 2020 - UPDATED NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE COURT OF APPEAL'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19 - FURTHER SUSPENSION OF SERVICE AND FILING DEADLINES. This updated Notice to the Public replaces the Notice to the Public issued by the Chief Justice of British Columbia on 20 April 2020. It includes new information regarding the continued suspension of service and filing deadlines and an amended Court Proceedings by Video Conference Form. The suspension of service and filing deadlines for existing appeals and chambers applications started on 18 March 2020 and is being extended from 1 June 2020 to 15 June 2020. The Court Proceedings by Video Conference Form now includes a question about personal concerns involved with proceeding by video. For more details please review the updated Notice to the Public.
- May 11, 2020 - WATCH A RECORDED WEBINAR ON MODIFIED OPERATIONS IN THE COURT OF APPEAL. On Friday May 8th Chief Justice Bauman, Registrar Timothy Outerbridge and Legal Counsel Shirley Smiley participated in a panel discussion co-hosted by the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. In this recording you will hear directly from the Chief Justice regarding the Court of Appeal’s commitment to continuing operations in the “new normal”. You will also hear from the Registrar and Legal Counsel about important procedural changes that have occurred since mid-March and lessons learned during the first week of video-conference appeal hearings.
- May 4, 2020 - WEBINAR ON MODIFIED COURT OPERATIONS - 8 MAY 2020. Chief Justice Robert J. Bauman, Registrar Timothy Outerbridge and Legal Counsel Shirley Smiley will present information on modified court operations in the Court of Appeal on Friday May 8th from 12:30 to 2:00 pm in a webinar co-hosted by the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch and the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia. The webinar is already fully subscribed, but the Court of Appeal will post a recording of the webinar to this announcements page shortly after it concludes.
- April 29, 2020 - NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC REGARDING ACCESS TO COURT PROCEEDINGS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. This Notice to the Public provides information about attending court proceedings taking place by video or teleconference, and other information regarding access to court records during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- April 29, 2020 - NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC REGARDING VIDEOCONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS IN THE COURT OF APPEAL. This Notice to the Public contains detailed information about the video conference hearing process, including etiquette and decorum, for appeals beginning 4 May 2020. It includes a step-by-step guide to appearing in a Zoom video conference proceeding.
- April 29, 2020 - COVID-19 OVERVIEW OF THE APPEAL PROCESS. This flowchart provides an overview of the appeal process. Notes have been added to help people understand how the appeal process has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- April 20, 2020 - UPDATED NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE COURT OF APPEAL'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19 - NEW INFORMATION REGARDING CONTINUATION OF COURT OPERATIONS. This updated Notice to the Public replaces the Notice to the Public issued by the Chief Justice of British Columbia on 30 March 2020. It includes new information regarding the continuation of court operations in the court of appeal for all matters. The Court of Appeal is extending the suspension service and filing deadlines for all existing appeals and chambers applications to 1 June 2020. Despite the suspension of deadlines, the registry is accepting filings in all matters, and parties are encouraged to advance their appeals if they are able to do so. In civil appeals, electronic filing is mandatory for all parties beginning 4 May 2020. Beginning 4 May 2020, the Court will hear all appeals, including those that are not urgent, by videoconferencing using the Zoom platform, unless otherwise directed. Litigants are required to complete the Court Proceedings by Video Conference Form 14 days in advance of their hearing. Beginning 4 May 2020, the Court will hear all chambers applications and Registrar’s appointments, including those that are not urgent, by teleconference or in writing. For all new chambers applications or appointments, litigants must file and serve materials according to the timelines required under the Court of Appeal Act, Court of Appeal Rules, Criminal Code, the Court of Appeal Criminal Rules and the Court’s Civil and Criminal Practice Directives.
- Message from Chief Justice Bauman regarding efforts to increase capacity to hear matters during the COVID-19 pandemic - April 7, 2020
- Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19 - March 30, 2020
- Notice to the Public Regarding Affidavits for use in Court Proceedings - 27 March 2020