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Provincial Court of Alberta

Last updated:
July 29, 2020

COVID-19 COURT INFORMATION (Main resource link)


ANNOUNCEMENTS:

COVID-19 Staged Resumption Part 2 - July 6

The Provincial Court of Alberta is very mindful of the need to expand in-person access to the Court, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of courts users and the public, and to contain the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, effective July 6, 2020, we are increasing the number of criminal, family and youth, and civil matters that can be heard in-person at base point locations, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, supported by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General (responsible for court administration) and Alberta Infrastructure (responsible for court facilities) strict health and safety measures have been put in place for:

  • physical distancing and monitoring of same;
  • wearing of masks and other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE);
  • modifying courtrooms and other spaces; and
  • enhanced cleaning.

Base point Courtrooms which have these measures in place on July 6, 2020 will be opened for limited in-person hearings. The balance of base point trial courtrooms will be opened once they have the required health and safety measures implemented.

Do not come into a courthouse in person if you have been advised to self-isolate by public health officials, your doctor or the Alberta Health Services website; or you are self-isolating as a result of travel or contact with individuals with COVID-19.

Circuit courts remain closed. To find your base location please check the Locations Map. Circuit courts are in red and Base points in blue. Click on your location for more information.

The Provincial Court will continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, and will provide updates regarding the staged reopening. The Provincial Court thanks all stakeholders who have provided support and input during the development of the resumption plans.

Managing physical distancing and other health and safety protocols will take the effort and cooperation of all court users and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

What is changing?

Detailed Court Resumption protocols have been established for each Court division and region, and are available at the links below.

More Information

Covid-19 Criminal Adult Matters

In-person Trials and Preliminary Hearings for all In-Custody matters continue and in-person Out-of-Custody Trials and Preliminary Hearings resume at base point locations across the province on July 6, 2020 if the hearing can proceed safely.

Case Management Offices (CMO's) reopen remotely on July 6, 2020. No in-person attendance by Out-of-Custody accused will be permitted at locations that have CMO's.

Remote dockets continue but there will be no further presumptive adjournments. Counsel and Out-of-Custody self-represented accused must make docket court appearances remotely at both CMO or non-CMO court locations by the various methods outlined in the Case Management Office (CMO) and Out of Custody Docket Court Resumption Protocol. Some Regions may allow limited personal docket appearances by an accused. Please reference the specific Regional Court Resumption Plans below.

Circuit point locations remain closed. Circuit point dockets will continue to be conducted remotely at base point locations and appearances should be made in the manner referred to above.

Court will continue to conduct Pre-Trial Conferences remotely on all matters scheduled for one-half day or longer between now and the end of the year.

Judicial authorization applications: The Court will continue to hear judicial authorization applications either through the Hearing Office, by attending in Provincial Court Judges’ Chambers at a base location or in Edmonton through the Edmonton Digital Judicial Authorization Rule and Protocol.

Criminal Fines (Adult & Youth) - Applications for extension of time to pay for payment on criminal fines will be accepted by the Provincial Court via mail, email, fax or telephone.

For further information regarding specific court locations, their protocols and practices, see the following links:

Practice Notes

Northern

Edmonton

Edmonton Region

Central Region

Calgary

Calgary Region

Southern

Warrants

Criminal Fines (Adult & Youth)

COVID-19 CIVIL MATTERS

For the time period July 6, 2020 to September 4, 2020, the following protocols will apply to Civil Claims:

  • There will be no presumptive adjournments of any civil matters.
  • Matters scheduled after July 6 will proceed as scheduled.
  • There may be in-person mediations, pre-trial conferences, trials and other applications as set out in the Resumption Plan for civil court. In Edmonton and Calgary, pretrial conferences and applications will be conducted in person. In areas outside of Edmonton and Calgary, pretrial conferences and applications will be conducted by telephone. In person trials across the province will start July 6.  
  • Urgent filing of documents will be accepted at civil counters in base court locations.  Non-urgent matters will be accepted by way of drop box or at the civil counters.

Edmonton and Calgary

Filing

Pending development of a document handling protocol, urgent filing only will be handled at the civil counters, with drop boxes continuing to be used for all other filing.

Mediations

Mediations are being held as previously scheduled in both Edmonton and Calgary by telephone. Mediations are currently being conducted by telephone, WebEx or Zoom.

Pre-trial Conferences

  1. All pretrial conferences which have been adjourned pursuant to the master COVID-19 order have been rescheduled. All pretrial conferences that had been scheduled for after July 3 are proceeding as scheduled.
  2. In person appearances will commence July 6, 2020, in Edmonton and Calgary although remote appearances will be encouraged. For matters scheduled in areas other than Edmonton and Calgary pre-trial conferences will be held by teleconference.
  3. Pretrial conferences are being held in courtrooms in both Edmonton and Calgary. Conference rooms are not being utilized due to social distancing concerns.

Trials

  1. In person civil trials will commence across the province on July 6 2020. Social distancing and sanitization protocols will be enforced.
  2. Matters that have been scheduled for July 6 and after will proceed as scheduled.

Applications

  1. In person applications will be conducted after July 6 2020 in Edmonton and Calgary. Social distancing and sanitization protocols will be enforced.
  2. Applications outside of Edmonton and Calgary will be held by teleconference.
  3. Staggered scheduling of in person applications will be implemented to avoid an influx of people at 9:30 or 1:30 each day.

WebEx

We will continue to encourage remote hearings whether by telephone or WebEx. Parties are to contact the local Court clerks to determine availability of WebEx for their matter, and to arrange scheduling.

Drop off boxes

A drop off box will be located at the entrances to the Calgary Court Centre and Edmonton Law Courts where non urgent documents may be deposited at the Sheriff station. There will be a turnaround time of 6 business days to complete the filing procedures, at which time documents may be picked up by Lawyers/Agents/Runners and mailed out to Self-Represented Litigants. Please include a cheque in instances where there is a filing fee.

Civil Division Hotlines

For scheduling concerns, please call the civil division hotlines. Those lines are:

  • Edmonton: 780 644-7638
  • Calgary: 403 297-7219

Protocols for other Court Locations

Provincial Court Pandemic Plan - COVID19

Master Order Relating to Court's Response to COVID-19  

COVID-19 FAMILY AND YOUTH CRIMINAL

Youth Criminal docket matters are no longer presumptively adjourned. Counsel are to appear remotely or in person, and use designations of counsel where possible. Trials and sentencing are to occur as scheduled. In certain cases, the young person must appear. For Youth tickets follow the Traffic Court protocol.

Child Protection Docket matters, Case Management Conferences, Case Conferences and Pretrial Conferences will be by remote appearance or in person, depending on your local area, so please check the protocol for the courthouse you will be appearing in. Initial Custody Hearings and trials will occur as scheduled with in-person attendance of witnesses, parties and counsel unless otherwise directed by the court.

Emergency Protection Orders, PCHAD, PSECA, Mental Health Warrants, and Secure Services application are to occur in person unless exceptional circumstances exist.

In Family Law matters, docket and pretrial conferences are to occur by remote appearance by parties and counsel, or in person depending on your local area, so please check the protocol for the courthouse you are appearing in. Trials and JDRs are to occur as scheduled with local protocols governing how counsel and parties are to appear.  Matters are no longer be presumptively adjourned.

For further information regarding specific court locations and their protocols, see the following links:

Practice Notes and Protocols

COVID-19 TRAFFIC COURT

July 28, 2020 - Important Traffic Court Reminder

For the time period July 6, 2020 to September 4, 2020, the following protocols will apply to Traffic Court procedure. This applies to matters involving tickets and charges for by-law and provincial offences, including offences under the Public Health Act, for both Adult and Youth.

Do not attend the courthouse anywhere in the province to deal with Traffic Court/Provincial Offence matters in person.  Contact the Court handling your matter by telephone or email.

Tickets

If you have a ticket with an upcoming first court appearance date, you can pay it online, at a registry office or by mail (see below under fines). Contact the Court handling your matter by telephone or email if you:

  • Do not dispute your ticket but need time to pay;
  • Wish to adjourn your matter, or
  • Wish to plead not guilty and set a trial date.  Not guilty pleas will also continue to be accepted by mail, as per the instructions on your ticket.
  • Traffic Contact Information

Adjournments (matters previously in court that were put over to a future date)

If you have a matter that was automatically adjourned to a new court date of July 6, 2020, or later, you must contact the court by telephone or email on or before your new court date. If you fail to do so, you may be convicted in absence (found guilty and fined) or in some cases, an arrest warrant may be issued.

The Traffic Court Adjournment Guide shows you what your new court date is, based on your original court date.  Your original court date is the last date your matter was scheduled for court.

  • Example #1:  If a plea on your matter was reserved to April 27, 2020, your new court date is July 6, 2020.
  • Example #2 – If you were released on an appearance notice, undertaking or release order to appear in court on April 24, 2020, your new court date is September 14, 2020.

Remote Out of Custody Dispositions and Other Applications

Commencing July 6, 2020, Calgary and Edmonton Traffic Courts will remotely hear, via Webex and in the absence of the Defendant, out of custody dispositions and/or any other applications ONLY where the Defendant is represented by Defence Counsel or a Commercial Legal Agent (a person who routinely represents others in Traffic Courts in Alberta for a fee, but is not a lawyer).  Matters will be heard before a Justice of the Peace by Webex, and will include:

  • Matters that the Crown and Defence Counsel/Commercial Legal Agent have proposed are eligible to be heard;
  • Guilty pleas, adjournment requests, requests for time to pay extensions, set-aside applications after conviction in absence, and joint submissions that do not involve a period of incarceration.

Details of the Remote Out of Custody Dispositions and Other Applications are set out in the Traffic Court Practice Note.

As the Court considers hearing other remote hearings for Traffic Court matters, a further Practice Note will be provided.

Fines

Fine payments can be made:

  • online at Fine Payments  - As part of the overall response to COVID-19, the Government of Alberta has temporarily waived the service fee for online fine payments to assist Albertans while traffic courts are closed to the public.
  • by mail to the Provincial Traffic Production Centre, 601 5th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 5P7
  • through a Registry Office.

Further Information


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