Expect court disruptions due to COVID-19. Call before you go. (Citizen file)

Expect court disruptions in Duncan due to COVID-19

At least three BC Provincial courthouses have been closed as after possible exposures to the COVID-19 virus.

Chilliwack joins Island locations in Nanaimo and Campbell River in being closed outright. Even so, there are major disruptions to the court system overall, so if you’ve got an upcoming court case in Duncan, be advised it’s likely not going to happen on schedule. Know before you go.

Courts in B.C. are taking sweeping precautions amid the COVID-19 spread, including postponing jury-trials and encouraging appeal matters to also be adjourned, effective immediately.

The Supreme Court has suspended all regular operations effective immediately until further notice, though adjustments will be made to accommodate the hearing of urgent matters.

Members of the public who do not have urgent business before the court are discouraged from attending any courthouse.

By order of the office of the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of B.C., effective Wednesday, March 18, only urgent family child protection and maintenance enforcement cases as determined by a judge will be heard.

All non-urgent family matters, including trials, scheduled to proceed between March 18 and May 16 are adjourned without the parties having to attend court.

Small claims cases slated between March 16 and May 4 will not proceed either so don’t go to court. Parties will be notified by May 4 as to when to head to court.

For cases in which there is a person in custody, they’ll continue.

“The scheduling and hearing of in-custody criminal trials and sentencings will proceed unless adjourned by the Court on application by a party,” said the Provincial Court’s latest notification. “Parties are encouraged to apply to use video conference for in custody sentencing and trials in criminal matters.”

Traffic, ticket or bylaw matters scheduled from March 18 to May 4 will be adjourned and rescheduled.

Not sure? Visit www.provincialcourt.bc.ca to double check because information is changing rapidly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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