All in-person B.C. Supreme Court matters postponed due to rising COVID-19 cases

A similar move was made at the start of the pandemic

The Kelowna Law Courts. The recent surge of COVID-19 cases in B.C. has prompted the Supreme Court to reduce the number of in-person proceedings scheduled to take place the week of Jan. 4, 2022. | Nicholas Johansen

All in-person Supreme Court trials and other proceedings scheduled to run next week in British Columbia are being postponed.

The announcement was made Friday by Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson, in light of “the rapid and concerning recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the province.”

As such, all in-person civil, family and criminal matters scheduled to begin, or continue during the week of Jan. 4 to 7 will be adjourned. One exception is judges will have the power to determine if continuing criminal matters should proceed, possibly by way of phone or video.

Hinkson has advised all accused people and their lawyers who have scheduled appearances next week to phone into the court at the time their appearance to schedule a new appearance.

Supreme Court matters scheduled for the following week, beginning Jan. 10, “will be assessed in light of the public health situation on or around Jan. 7, 2022,” according to the judge.

No such notice has been posted to the Provincial Court of B.C.'s website as of Friday afternoon, so it's not clear if in-person provincial court matters will also be adjourned at this time.

A similar move was made by the B.C. courts back in March 2020, which caused the delay of several high-profile court cases.