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Alberta courts announce measures to deal with COVID-19 fallout

Monday, March 16, 2020 @ 12:38 PM | By Ian Burns

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 @ 9:45 AM

The Alberta courts have issued a number of directives in order to deal with the spread of COVID-19.

According to information from the province’s courts, effective March 16, access to the Court of Appeal courtrooms will be restricted to only those persons necessary to the proceedings before the court. This will include counsel, litigants, accused and members of the media. Accessibility by the media will serve to honour the open court principle. No one who is ill or experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms should attend the courthouses. 

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench is limiting hearings to emergency or urgent matters only. Emergency matters are those in which serious consequences to persons or harm to property may arise if the hearing does not proceed, or if there is a risk of loss of jurisdiction or expiration of an existing protection order. More information can be found here.

Alberta’s first appearance centres will be closed until further notice. This closure includes Edmonton, Calgary, Airdrie, Boyle, Canmore, Cochrane, Didsbury, Fort Macleod, Fort Saskatchewan, Medicine Hat, Okotoks, Red Deer, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Strathmore and Whitecourt.

As of March 17, if you have a family, civil, criminal court or a provincial offences/traffic court appearance in the Alberta provincial court, you do not need to attend unless the matter is an in-custody or urgent criminal matter, or an urgent family or child protection matter. No members of the public will be permitted in courtrooms unless they are required for a court matter (parties, witnesses, media). Legal counsel are permitted access to the courthouse for urgent court-related business.

More information can be found here.