Focus On

Newfoundland court expanding operations virtually

Friday, May 15, 2020 @ 2:14 PM | By Terry Davidson


Newfoundland’s provincial court is increasing virtual hearings in a bid to move forward through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a May 13 notice, the provincial court of Newfoundland and Labrador announced it “will be accepting applications to hear more of the cases which are now listed on its dockets.”

“The court will now hear all matters (except arraignments, civil trials, traffic trials and peace bond hearings) where it can be established that the case can be efficiently and effectively presented to the court for adjudication without the need for the physical presence of any person,” the notice states. “However, before any such case can proceed the parties will be required to obtain the permission of the court. The nature of the virtual hearing and the processes by which the remote appearances might be best achieved can then be determined by the presiding judge.”

Circuit court locations, however, will remain suspended until further notice.

Those wanting to make an application should forward it to virtual@provincial.court.nl.ca, after which a time will be set for a hearing.

The notice goes on to state that all “in-custody inter partes criminal cases and urgent/emergency family matters will proceed virtually, if practicable.”

“All other cases which had been scheduled for adjudication between March 16, 2020 and June 26, 2020 will now be advanced by fifteen [15] weeks. This means that if you are not in custody and you have a court appearance for a criminal matter or a non-urgent family matter from [March 16 to June 26] you do not need to attend court. The court website will be updated regularly to provide information regarding rescheduling, including your new court date, which will be fifteen [15] weeks from the date of your scheduled court appearance or the next day after that the court is open.”

The notice stresses again that civil trials, traffic trials, and Contraventions Act cases “will be adjourned indefinitely and the parties will be contacted by the court regarding rescheduled dates.”