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P.E.I. Supreme Court to cease essential-only model, resume in-person hearings

Thursday, June 11, 2020 @ 3:27 PM | By Terry Davidson

Prince Edward Island’s Supreme Court will be easing restrictions of its operations by moving away from the high-priority model put in place to deal with the COVID-19 health crisis.

As of June 15, the court “will no longer be in the ‘urgent, emergency, or essential services’ model,” thus parties will no longer have to establish that their matter falls into one of these categories to proceed, according to a news release.  

“In-person hearings will be scheduled, provided the hearings can be conducted in accordance with established protocols to address COVID-19,” states Supreme Court Chief Justice Tracey Clements. “The court will continue to explore with counsel and the parties the option or utilizing technology to conduct hearings.”

But the use of drop boxes for court filings is still encouraged, and e-filing and filing via fax (as laid out in Practice Direction 46) remain options.

“The court will be issuing directives related to in-person hearings, which may continue to be modified,” states Chief Justice Clements. “These will be posted on the court’s website.”

In March, the court suspended regular operations due to the pandemic, limiting it to proceedings deemed urgent, an emergency or essential. In mid-May, the court eased some restrictions and expanded operations by moving forward with case management conference calls.

Recently, the court began scheduling pre-motion and pretrial conference, many of which are proceeding with the use of technology.