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Nunavut Court of Justice shutters after rise in COVID-19 cases

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 @ 3:26 PM | By Terry Davidson


Nunavut’s Court of Justice has gone into “emergency closure” as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise within that northern territory. 

On Nov. 17, the court issued a notice that it was suspending all regularly scheduled operations until Jan. 11, 2021, including scheduled sittings at the courthouse in the capital of Iqaluit.

The notice goes on to state that all civil matters set to be heard during this time are now adjourned indefinitely and that a trial co-ordinator will contact litigants and counsel about rescheduling “at the expiration of the suspension period.”

However, child welfare and guardianship matters will proceed as scheduled. 

For some matters, resumption will not happen until later in January.

All criminal out-of-custody matters in Iqaluit are suspended until Jan. 18, and in-custody matters will not move forward until Jan. 19.

The notice goes on to state that all filing deadlines “that fall within this period of emergency closure are hereby extended to the close of business” on Jan. 11.

“Any remand warrant, warrant of committal, removal order, subpoena, summons or other court process that is returnable during this period of emergency closure shall continue in full force and effect until the close of business on the dates listed above,” it states.

“All persons affected by this emergency closure are required to attend Court at 9:30 a.m. on the dates listed, which have been endorsed on everyone’s court file.”

According to additional information from the court, all circuit courts outside Iqaluit have been cancelled through to the end of 2020.

The court closure comes after a sudden surge of COVID-19 in Nunavut, which confirmed its first case on Nov. 6 after someone tested positive in Sanikiluaq. 

On Nov. 18, Nunavut’s government issued a news release stating the territory had 10 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 70. This comes a day after the territory reported a sudden spike of 34 new cases. 

The latest numbers stem from eight new cases being discovered in Arviat, bringing that community’s number to 54, and two new cases in Rankin Inlet, which brings its total to six. Whale Cove continues to have eight positive cases and Sanikiluaq still has two. 

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily, please contact Terry Davidson at t.davidson@lexisnexis.ca or call 905-415-5899.