Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench loosens COVID-19 restrictions

April 27, 2020 | Rick Van Beselaere, Brady Knight

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench is set to resume many operations that were suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 23, 2020, the Court released a new directive outlining how it plans to restart some of the previously postponed processes.

Chambers applications to resume June 1

Effective June 1, 2020, the Court will once again begin hearing all civil and family Chambers applications, rather than just those deemed or determined to be urgent. Unless otherwise ordered by the assigned Justice, all Chambers applications will be by telephone.

To clear the backlog of applications, the Court will be implementing a “Chambers blitz” from June 8-26, 2020. The Court will be using all available judicial resources and additional non-traditional Chambers dates will be set in many judicial centres during this period.

Appearance day applications and pre-trial conferences

Appearance day applications – made by phone regarding procedural steps in litigation – will resume May 1, 2020, along with case conferences.

Pre-trial conferences will resume June 1, 2020. The Court will be substantially increasing summer sittings to accommodate as many as 200 pre-trial conferences during July and August. All pre-trial conferences will be conducted by telephone until further notice, unless otherwise ordered by the assigned justice. The method of scheduling pre-trial conferences during this period has yet to be determined.

All applications without notice and consent orders will continue to be accepted and processed by the Court.

Conclusion

While physical access to Saskatchewan’s courthouses will continue be restricted, these measures represent an important step in allowing litigants to continue advancing their matters before the Court. It may be some time before full-fledged trials resume, but these new interim measures are a welcome step forward, using technology and court resources to the extent possible, while still taking required health precautions.

 

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