As with many other industries, the legal industry has been impacted by the COVID-19, and one of the implications is the closures of courts. The below provides a summary of court closures in Manitoba.
FILING DOCUMENTS IN COURT
At present time, the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Court Registry is operating with significantly reduced staff members. As such, it is asking that counsel and parties refrain from filing any non-essential court documents. While it is the decision of counsel and parties as to what constitutes an essential document, obvious examples are those documents that must be filed because of an applicable limitation date or documents that are required for an upcoming court hearing.
MANITOBA COURT OF QUEEN’S BENCH (As of May 12, 2020)
- All currently-scheduled criminal, civil, family and child protection trials for the period from May 26 through to the end of June 2020 will proceed.
- All other matters, including pre-trials, case management meetings, case conferences, motions and judicially assisted dispute resolution will continue remotely by teleconference or videoconference.
- From June 29 to September 7, 2020, the uncontested civil motions list will sit on Wednesdays and Fridays each week. The civil uncontested list will operate by teleconference commencing at 10:00 a.m.
- The call-in number and details for matters operating by teleconference is as follows:
Toll free dial-in number: 1-800-974-5902
Local dial-in number: 416-874-8100
Conference ID: 5148840
MANITOBA COURT OF APPEAL (As of June 24, 2020)
The Manitoba Court of Appeal will resume its in-person appeal hearings in Courtroom 330 and in-person chambers motions in Courtroom 130 for the Fall Session, which begins on Monday, August 24, 2020. Public safety measures remain in place, including physical distancing, plexi-glass installations, regular cleaning and sanitization of courtrooms and the restriction of the public from attending the courthouse.
MASTERS’ LIST (As of May 11, 2020)
Until further notice, the masters’ daily uncontested lists in Winnipeg will operate commencing at 9:30 a.m. by way of teleconference. All counsel and self-represented litigants will be required to call in as follows:
Toll free dial-in number: 1-855-342-6455
Conference ID: 5589296
PROVINCIAL OFFENCES COURT
The Provincial Offences Court Office at 373 Broadway will be closed from March 17 to and including May 1st. Any Provincial Offences Act matters, including Highway Traffic Act matters scheduled to appear between March 17, 2020 and May 1, 2020 will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date. Notification of the new date will be sent directly to parties and/or counsel.
SMALL CLAIMS COURT (As of May 15, 2020)
- Small Claims that had been scheduled to be heard between March 17, 2020 and June 7, 2020, will be assigned to an administrative list that will proceed by teleconference. A letter will be sent by regular mail to parties or counsel to advise of the date, time and teleconference details.
- Small Claims contested hearings scheduled on or after June 8, 2020, will proceed in person. Access to the courthouse will be restricted to only claimants, defendants, counsel and witnesses. Appropriate social distancing guidelines will apply.
- All other Small Claim matters, including first appearances, uncontested hearings, motor vehicle accident and collections lists, scheduled on or after June 8, 2020, will proceed by way of teleconference until further notice.
ALL MATTERS OUTSIDE OF COURT
While there is currently no order preventing parties from meeting outside of Court, in-person meetings and examinations should be postponed where possible. Courtesy should be extended to opposing counsel/parties to that end.
Please do not hesitate to contact your relationship partner or lawyer if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance in guiding you through these new challenges.
This article was prepared by:
MATTHEW T. DUFFY
This article represents general information and is not legal advice. Please contact us if you would like legal advice that is tailored to your particular circumstances. We would be happy to help.