Suspension of Non-Essential Operations of the Court of Queen’s Bench

The Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench announced today that the court is suspending all non-essential operations. As a result, most court applications, pre-trial conferences and trials scheduled before May 31, 2020 in the Court of Queen’s Bench are postponed without a firm date when they will be heard.

The new directive will be posted to the Court of Queen’s Bench website at https://sasklawcourts.ca/index.php/home/resources/covid-court-update.

What Does this Mean for your Court Case?

Unless your matter is urgent or an emergency, your case will not be proceeding until the Court re-commences its normal operations. The court directive provides examples of what constitutes an emergency or urgent matter, but they include:

Civil Cases

  1. Applications dealing with public health and safety;
  2. Preservation orders;
  3. Injunctions where there is significant urgency;
  4. Other cases where a judge has made a determination that the matter is urgent and can proceed.

Family Law

  1. Cases involving the safety of a child or parent, including applications for restraining orders;
  2. Wrongful retention or removal of a child;
  3. Dire financial need.

These are non-exhaustive and there is a different set of rules for child protection and criminal matters set out in the directive.

Realistically, this means that virtually all hearings are cancelled for the next few months. There is still the ability though to apply to the court in emergent situations to apply to return a child or to get an injunction/preservation order to ensure that assets are not dissipated while we wait for the court to lift these restrictions.

Pre-trial conferences and trials are going to be delayed significantly by virtue of this directive. Scheduling will re-commence in or around May, 2020, but there will be a backlog of cases caused by this interruption.

Conclusion

Everyone will have to be patient until this public health emergency is controlled. The Court is doing its part to protect the safety of judges, members of the public and lawyers. Importantly though, the Court has made arrangements to be available should there be an emergency situation.

Please reach out to a member of our team if you have any questions about this new court directive or whether your case is an “urgency or emergency” case that can still proceed.

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