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Manitoba Queen’s Bench masters get going again

Thursday, May 14, 2020 @ 11:42 AM | By Terry Davidson

Manitoba's Queen’s Bench masters court in Winnipeg and beyond will use remote communications “whenever possible” to restart most routine matters after the May long weekend.

According to a May 11 notice from the Court of Queen’s Bench Masters’ Office, “all currently scheduled civil and family motions and references set to proceed before the masters on or after May 25 … will proceed, remotely whenever possible.”

It also states that these procedural updates for Winnipeg Centre will also apply to masters courts in Brandon Centre, Dauphin, Portage la Prairie and Morden Centre but are subject to modifications detailed in the notice.

The masters’ uncontested lists for civil and family motions had been suspended through to May 22, with all matters previously scheduled during this suspension being adjourned sine die. But starting May 11, these matters could be slotted to “appear returnable on the masters’ daily uncontested lists,” which will resume May 19.

New civil and family motions may be scheduled on the uncontested lists as of May 25. Further details can be found in the notice.

After a period of suspension, child protection dockets were reconvened remotely on April 7 and will continue to be heard this way after May 22. As noted in a previous directive, the restart of weekly remote intake dockets is slotted for June 4.

As for Family Division prerequisite motions, the “regular masters’ uncontested lists” for previously adjourned motions “will resume daily operations” May 19. New motions will start May 25.  

Starting May 11, uncontested lists for civil and family motions could be scheduled to “appear returnable” on the masters’ uncontested lists, which will resume May 19.  

Bankruptcy dockets will resume after May 25 and proceed remotely “until further direction for the court.” However, the trustee’s representative may appear in person if preferred, but social distancing guidelines must be followed.

Some other matters that had been adjourned, such as hearings for directions, may be rescheduled to proceed remotely by contacting the masters’ co-ordinator after May 22 by e-mail or telephone. Details and exceptions can be found in the notice.  

Maintenance Enforcement Dockets will stay suspended “in all judicial centres until further notice,” it states.

According to the court’s webpage, masters are judicial officers who, like judges, “make decisions based on the law and evidence presented to them,” and handle matters such the assessment of marital property, bankruptcy and the enforcement of support orders.