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Provincial Court of Alberta

Last updated:
October 7, 2020

COVID-19 COURT INFORMATION (Main resource link)


COVID-19 Resumption Final Stage - September 8, 2020

Conduct Guide for Remote Appearances

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. Effective July 6, 2020, we increased the number of criminal, family and youth, and civil matters that could be heard in-person at base point locations. Starting September 8, circuit locations will start to open for in-person and remote hearings.

Strict health and safety measures have been put in place in all locations for:

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

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.

The Provincial Court will continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, and will provide updates regarding the staged reopening. We thank 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.

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

Procedures

Starting September 8, 2020, trials and preliminary hearings resume across the province in all locations if the hearing can proceed safely and in accordance with Alberta Health Services guidelines. For information regarding resumption dates in specific regional courts, please refer to the Practice Notes associated with those court locations.

Remote Dockets: Case Management Offices (CMO's) reopened remotely on July 6, 2020, and all presumptive adjournments came to an end. No in-person attendance is permitted at most base and circuit locations unless there is prior approval of the Court or the specific Regional Protocol allows it. Counsel and out of custody self-represented litigants must continue to appear remotely for docket appearances at court locations with CMOs and those without CMOs in accordance with 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 refer to the specific Regional Court Resumption Plans below for more information.

Pre-Trial Conferences: Pre-Trial Conferences will continue to be conducted remotely on all matters scheduled for one-half day or longer between now and the end of the calendar 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.

Criminal Fine Extension Process

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

Practice Notes

Calgary
Calgary Region
Central Region
Southern

Northern

Edmonton

Edmonton Region

Warrants

Criminal Fines (Adult & Youth)

COVID-19 CIVIL MATTERS

General Protocols

The following protocols 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 Civil Court Resumption Protocol. 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.
  • See Regional Protocols below for specific instructions for your region.

Filing

In Edmonton and Calgary, in person filing at the civil counters will be accepted for urgent matters only. Drop boxes are to be used for non-urgent filing, however the 6 day waiting period has been eliminated. Documents placed in the drop boxes in Edmonton and Calgary will be processed as soon as reasonably possible.

The drop boxes are located at the entrances to the Calgary Court Centre and Edmonton Law Courts. Once the filing procedures have been completed, the documents may be picked up by lawyers/agents/runners and will be mailed out to self represented litigants. Please include a cheque in instances where there is a filing fee.

In areas other than Edmonton and Calgary, filing of documents regarding Provincial Court Civil matters will be accepted at the counters although drop boxes are also available in Red Dear and Wetaskiwin and their use is encouraged.

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.

Edmonton and Calgary Civil Division Hotlines

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

  • Edmonton: 780 422-2508
  • Calgary: 403 297-7217

Regional Protocols

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

Effective September 8, 2020, the following protocols will apply to Traffic Court matters. Traffic Court matters involve tickets and charges for by-law, traffic and other provincial offences, including offences under the Public Health Act, for both Adults and Youth.

Do not attend the courthouse anywhere in the province to deal with Traffic Court matters in person unless:

  • You received a “court appearance required” ticket and you wish to plead guilty to the charge on the court appearance date; or
  • You have a matter scheduled for trial; or
  • You are required as a witness for a scheduled trial.

For anything else, contact the court handling your matter by telephone or email.

Tickets with an Upcoming Court Date

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 Paying Tickets and 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.

If  You Missed your Court Date

If you recently became aware that you were convicted of a traffic or other ticket offence in your absence, resulting in an overdue fine plus late payment charge, and if you have a reasonable excuse for not paying the ticket or pleading not guilty to it by the appearance date, or not appearing for trial, you can apply to have the conviction set aside. To do so, follow the instructions provided with the COVID-19 Affidavit to set aside a conviction.

If you missed a court appearance date that has resulted in a warrant issuing for your arrest, contact the court handling your matter by phone or email for further direction.

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.

Paying Tickets and Fines

Ticket and 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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