COVID-19 FAQs

This information was updated on July 13, 2020. It may change as circumstances related to the spread of COVID-19 in BC change. For the most up-to-date information, see www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/COVID.

General
What steps are being taken to protect people attending court from COVID-19?
I’m participating in a telephone or video conference or hearing and have questions about it.

Urgent matters
What if I have an urgent matter?
How can Victims’ Services workers get information about a case?

Protection orders
What can I do if I fear violence from a family member and want to get a protection order to protect myself or children from harm?

Criminal, family, youth and small claims matters
I have a criminal, family, youth, or small claims case scheduled in BC Provincial Court. Will it go ahead?
I had a criminal, family, youth, or small claims case in BC Provincial Court scheduled between March 16 and July 3. When do I go back to court?

Other matters

I have a traffic court matter that was scheduled after March 17. When will my trial take place?
What’s happening with my Provincial Court matter in an Indigenous or First Nations Court?
What’s happening with my Provincial Court matter in a circuit court?

How are public health emergency matters dealt with?
What if I’m to be a witness at a trial?

Filing applications and documents that are not urgent
Can I file applications and documents in court?
What if the earlier restriction on filing documents due to COVID caused me to miss a deadline?


What steps are being taken to protect people attending court from COVID-19?

The measures being taken inside courtrooms are described in the Court’s Notice to the Profession and Public NP 22.

See Notice NP 19 for information on safety measures in Traffic Court.

See too the Ministry of Attorney General’s Information Bulletin summarizing the steps government has taken to ensure everyone’s safety at courthouses and in courtrooms, including obtaining expert advice, initiating a verbal screening process, and cleaning and physical distancing protocols.


I’m participating in a telephone or video conference or hearing and have questions about it

See Remote conferences and hearings (by phone or video).


What if I have an urgent matter?

You (or your lawyer if you have one) can file an application for the court order you’re seeking. Filing may be done by email or mail to your local court registry or by fax to fax filing registries (see GEN 01 Practice Direction), or using Court Services Online where available.

Because court registries are now accepting new filings, the procedure for urgent matters established in March is no longer necessary and it has ended.


How can Victims’ Services workers get information about a case?

Victims’ Services workers interested in a particular case may telephone the applicable court registry for information about how they can monitor it (e.g. by dialing into a teleconference. However, telephone access may be subject to limits on the number of callers that can be connected through a single teleconference number.) They may also access case information as set out in our Access to Court Records policy.


What can I do if I fear violence from a family member and want to get a protection order to protect myself or children from harm?

Talk to a lawyer – both Legal Aid and Duty Counsel are available by telephone. Find phone numbers and other info at familylaw.lss.bc.ca/coronavirus-updates.

You (or your lawyer if you have one) can file an application for the court order you’re seeking. Filing may be done by email or mail to your local court registry or by fax to fax filing registries (see GEN 01 Practice Direction), or using Court Services Online where available.

For more information, see:

Protecting yourself & your family - Legal Aid web page on protection orders, peace bonds and safety plans
Live Safe, End Abuse - Legal Aid fact sheets on abuse, where to get help, peace bonds and family law protection orders
Protection Orders Questions & Answers - BC Government information
For Your Protection: Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders - Legal Aid pamphlet
Protection Orders – Provincial Court eNews article explaining who can apply, and in what circumstances.

If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911. Get information and support from:

VictimLinkBC - 1-800-563-0808 - information 24/7 (no charge for long distance) - service available in more than 150 languages
Battered Women Support Services - 604-687-1867 or toll-free at 1-855-687-186, text 604-652-1867 or email intake@bwss.org for emotional support and help making safety plans
BC Housing - a list of shelters near you


I have a criminal, family, youth, or small claims case in BC Provincial Court scheduled after July 3, 2020. Will it go ahead?

Scheduled court lists are proceeding, although some matters are being heard by audio- or video-conference instead of in-person. See Notice NP19 for details about different types of cases and Changes in Procedures for a short summary.


I had a case in BC Provincial Court scheduled between March 16 and July 3. When do I go back to court?

See charts for criminal, family, child protection and small claims cases in “Appendix A” in Notice NP19. For smaller court locations you need to email or telephone a Scheduling Contact to find out your next court date.


I have a traffic court matter that was scheduled after March 17. When will my trial take place?

Some traffic trials will take place in the original court location and some will take place in alternate locations and at alternate times. You will receive a new Notice of Hearing in the mail. See Notice NP 19 for details.


What’s happening with my Provincial Court Indigenous Court matter?

• All Indigenous Court matters scheduled from May 19 to July 3, 2020 (and May 11 and 15, 2020 in Duncan), and matters scheduled after July 3, 2020, will remain on the date scheduled unless otherwise notified by the Court. The Court expects to hear these matters by audioconference or videoconference without the participants attending court in person until further notice.

• All Indigenous Court matters scheduled from March 16 to May 16, 2020 (except for those matters scheduled in Duncan on May 11 and 15, 2020) have been adjourned. See Notice NP19


What’s happening with my Provincial Court circuit court matter?

• An Announcement is posted on our website with updated information about circuit courts.


How are public health emergency matters dealt with?

Matters related to public health and safety and the COVID-19 pandemic, including matters under the Quarantine Act, Public Health Act and similar statutes and regulations can be filed at the applicable local court registry.


What if I’m to be a witness at a trial?

• Trials and hearings scheduled after July 3, 2020 are proceeding. If you haven’t already heard from them, contact the lawyer who arranged for you to testify to find out if the trial is proceeding and how it will be held.


Can I file applications and documents in court?

Provincial Court registries are now accepting all filings either in-person or by mail, email, fax to fax filing registries, or using Court Services Online where available. To protect the health of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Court, parties are encouraged to use remote filing options.

Get court registry email addresses, fax numbers and mailing addresses at BC Courthouse Locations.

For email filing in violation ticket matters (including traffic tickets), if the court location has a specific email address for a criminal registry, use that address.


What if the earlier restriction on filing documents due to COVID caused me to miss a deadline?

The mandatory time periods within which family and small claims actions must usually be commenced have been suspended during the provincial state of emergency. The suspension will continue for 90 days after the date on which the last extension of the declaration of a state of emergency made March 18, 2020 under section 9 (1) of the Emergency Program Act expires or is cancelled see COVID-19 Related Measures Act and Order in Council 453. Judges also have the power to extend other time periods. If you think you need to extend a time period, you can make an application to do this.

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