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Northwest Territories courts mandate telephone appearances by counsel

Friday, March 20, 2020 @ 1:09 PM | By Amanda Jerome

On March 19, Chief Judge Robert Gorin of the Territorial Courts released directions to the profession in response to COVID-19.

“While these changes will result in disruption and some delay, it is necessary to be proactive under the circumstances. The situation will be monitored closely and any updates will be sent to this same distribution and posted on the courts website,” the statement, sent by courts administrator Denise Bertolini, said.

According to the Northwest Territories Courts’ press release, all lawyers “who are appearing as counsel before the court in all matters are to appear by telephone. Arrangements to do so can be made by contacting the Territorial Court Registry in Yellowknife.”

All civil and family docket days scheduled before June 1 are cancelled “unless otherwise directed.” All criminal and youth justice court proceedings scheduled before that date are also cancelled.

“All in chambers meetings with judges scheduled to a date before June 1st are to be dealt with by teleconference,” the statement explains.

“Any emergency or time-limited matters that arise at any location in the Northwest Territories will be dealt with as the circumstances may require,” it adds, noting that a Territorial Court judge “may direct that the foregoing measures be departed from as the circumstances require on a case-by-case basis.”

The notice explains that the “foregoing measures will be revisited regularly and adjusted as required as the current health crisis evolves.”