Written by Natalie L. Leclerc
The Provincial Court of Alberta and the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (together, the “Alberta Courts”) are currently closed (as of March 17, 2020) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, other than for emergency and urgent matters.
In keeping with the Alberta government’s “Alberta’s Re-Launch Strategy”, the Provincial Court of Alberta (“PC”) recently announced the implementation of Part One of their COVID-19 Staged Resumption of Court Operations (“PC Resumption Plan”), which will be in effect from May 25, 2020 to July 3, 2020.
The following COVID-19 rules and restrictions on attendance at court locations (“COVID-19 Protocols”) will continue to apply during Part One of the PC Resumption Plan:
- Access to the court will still be restricted to only those persons necessary to the proceedings before the court (including counsel, litigants, accused, witnesses, support workers, and members of the media).
- Everyone attending court facilities must follow all public health guidelines, including social distancing protocols.
- The number of people permitted in any courtroom or area of the court will be in accordance with the currently in-force Public Health Order concerning the size of gatherings permitted at the time.
However, the above restrictions will primarily apply to family and criminal matters, as no in-person appearances will be permitted at any court location for civil matters.
current covid-19 protocols in pc
Under current COVID-19 Protocols, all PC civil matters (including trials, chambers list applications and pretrial conferences scheduled to be heard prior to May 22, 2020) were adjourned indefinitely. During Part One of the PC Resumption Plan, urgent and time sensitive documents for civil matters will continue to be permitted for filing.
Remote civil hearings to commence may 25
Part One of the PC Resumption Plan will implement protocols to allow the PC to remotely hear, in addition to any emergency or urgent applications, civil applications that would not have been considered "urgent" or an "emergency" under the initial COVID-19 Protocols.
Commencing May 25, 2020, the following PC civil matters will be conducted remotely by telephone or video conferences:
- Pre-trial conferences, simplified trials and binding judicial dispute matters currently scheduled between May 25 to July 3, 2020;
- Case management conferences for trials currently scheduled after May 25, 2020 (other than simplified trials). These trials will be case managed by a judge, who will determine if the matter is suitable for trial by teleconference or videoconference (otherwise the matter will be adjourned).
- Applications that can be heard by teleconference, with the standard filing and notice requirements in effect.
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We understand that the rapid emergence of COVID-19 means that many businesses are dealing with a myriad of legal issues. Please contact us if you have any legal questions about your privacy law obligations in connection with COVID-19, or any other commercial litigation matters. Our lawyers routinely work remotely and will continue to do so during this time. We remain available to provide legal advice and guidance to clients for all issues that may arise during the Pandemic.
As this is an ongoing situation of a global nature, the information provided herein is current as of the publishing date of this blog.
*This update is intended for general information only on the subject matter and is not to be taken as legal advice.
 See Provincial Court of Alberta, COVID-19 Staged Resumption of Court Operations - Part One: https://albertacourts.ca/docs/default-source/pc/resumption-plan---stage-1.pdf?sfvrsn=fe649e80_10