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Ontario Court of Justice continues roll-out of in-person and virtual proceedings

Friday, August 28, 2020 @ 9:22 AM | By John Schofield

In a continuing roll-out, the Ontario Court of Justice will implement virtual criminal case management courts starting Aug. 31 in Oshawa, Timmins, Thunder Bay and Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Avenue East).

At these locations, lawyers and litigants are instructed to not attend court in person and will be able to conduct criminal case management appearances by videoconference or audioconference, according to an Aug. 26 notice to the profession.

Details about virtual criminal case management courts are available in the court’s Aug. 20 notice, Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances.

In a separate notice, the Ontario Court of Justice announced that in-person trials and preliminary hearings will resume Sept. 14 at an additional 20 courthouses as part of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s phased-in resumption of in-person proceedings. Those locations include Coburg, Orillia, Simcoe, Welland, Brockville, Cochrane, Parry Sound, Fort Frances, Goderich, Stratford, Walkerton and Woodstock.

Unless otherwise directed by the regional senior judge and until further notice, all cases currently scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry on or after Sept. 14 will be spoken to approximately one week before the scheduled hearing date before a judge presiding in a special COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court. The purposes of the Trial Readiness Courts are to confirm that trials or preliminary inquiries are ready to proceed on their hearing date and to assign cases into courtrooms that are open and operating.

Full details are available in the court’s Aug. 26 notice to the profession.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Court of Justice is continuing to hold some proceedings using the Zoom platform or the JVN (Justice Video Network) WebRTC platform. To assist lawyers and litigants, the court has published Guidelines re: Conducting Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice. It has also made available a Zoom user guide, a JVN WebRTC manual and JVN troubleshooting tips.

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