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N.S. Supreme Court lifts suspension of filing deadlines, restarts normal filing process

Friday, June 05, 2020 @ 2:53 PM | By Terry Davidson

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 09, 2020 @ 10:57 AM

Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court is lifting a suspension of filing deadlines it had imposed as part of efforts to cope with the COVID-19 health crisis.

According to a news release, the suspension of filing deadlines for summary conviction appeals and civil and family matters will be lifted June 5, at 11:59 p.m.

“At that time, all deadlines related to Supreme Court matters under the Civil Procedure Rules will once again be in effect,” states the release.

The notice also goes on to note that as of June 15, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, General Division, will return to its normal processes for filing court documents.

“That means courthouses will no longer accept electronic filings for Supreme Court (General Division) matters; counsel and parties will be expected to file paper copies of documents at courthouses. Filings will be done at drop boxes at courthouse doors, rather than at the front counters.”

A courts spokesperson said the suspension of filing deadlines was a “temporary measure” and part of the courts’ essential services model, put in place back in March in response to the health crisis.  

“The suspension is being lifted as part of the gradual expansion of court services,” said Nova Scotia Judiciary director of communications Jennifer Stairs. “The Supreme Court is transitioning to a safe services model on June 15, which means non-urgent in-person proceedings can go ahead, if they can be done safely (i.e. respect social distancing, etc.).”

Stairs went on to say the province “has had several days over the past week where no or very few new cases of the virus were reported,” and that many businesses could reopen as of June 5. 

Back on March 28, shortly after the pandemic hit Canada, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court announced it was suspending the filing deadlines for civil in family matters in its general division, retroactive to March 19.

On May 5, it was announced that filing deadlines for summary conviction appeals would be suspended, which was also made retroactive to March 19.

As of June 4, Nova Scotia had 1,058 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That day, the province reported one virus-related death, that of a man in his 70s, bringing the death toll to 61. No new cases of the virus were reported at that time.