Coronavirus brings postponements to NWT court system

Yellowknife Courthouse (CKLB File photo).

The coronavirus outbreak is affecting courts in the Northwest Territories.

Details have been outlined on the NWT Dept. of Justice court schedule website.

Supreme Court

NWT Supreme Court Chief Justice Charbonneau has given certain directions, effective immediately, regarding Supreme Court proceedings during the coronavirus outbreak.

In an advisory, the court states that while these changes will result in disruption and some delay, it is necessary to be proactive under the circumstances.

The situation will be monitored closely and any updates will be sent to this same distribution and posted on the courts website.

Criminal Matters:

All sittings outside of Yellowknife, (jury trials, non-jury trials, and sentencings) are
cancelled until May 1st.

Yellowknife jury trials are cancelled until May 1st.

Judge alone trials scheduled in Yellowknife between now and May 1st will remain in place for now.

Pre-trial conferences will be convened in the near future to discuss whether consideration should be given to rescheduling any of those trials.

Pretrial conferences will, until further notice, be held by teleconference.

Court of Appeal scheduling will proceed by teleconference only.

All counsel and self-represented parties are asked to provide contact information.

Box 550 Yellowknife NT X1A 2N4

ph. 867-767-9287 ext: 82350 fax 867-873-0291

e-mail: denise_bertolini@gov.nt.ca

Family and Civil matters

Family and civil chambers will proceed by teleconference only until May 1st. All counsel and self-represented parties are asked to provide contact information.

Family and civil hearings requiring a hearing between now and May 1st will be scheduled on a case by case and will proceed by teleconference where possible.

Pre-hearing conferences will be arranged to discuss.

These measures will be revisited as the situation evolves.

Territorial Courts

Chief Judge Robert Gorin has directed the following changes, effective immediately, to Territorial Court proceedings.

While these changes will result in disruption and some delay, it is necessary to be proactive under the circumstances.

The situation will be monitored closely and any updates will be sent to this same distribution and posted on the courts website.

Proceedings outside of Yellowknife

ALL proceedings outside Yellowknife are cancelled until June 1st.

The sole exception will be matters involving in custody accused that can be conducted by video appearance.

Emergency matters that arise from communities outside of Yellowknife will be dealt with as
the circumstances require.

All individuals who are at liberty and who have matters scheduled before June 1st are to be
resummonsed to the first available scheduled court date in the community where their
matters were previously scheduled following May 31st to either deal with or reschedule
their matters.

All individuals who have appearances scheduled in a community outside of Yellowknife who
are in custody will have their matters spoken to via video-link to Yellowknife.

Where such individuals have matters set for trial, preliminary inquiry, sentencing, or otherwise for
hearing prior to June 1st, their matters will be brought forward through a form 19 to appear before the court by video in order to reschedule their proceedings.

Civil mediation sessions previously set prior to June 1st will be rescheduled to dates that follow May 31st.

Wellness Court and DVTO Court proceedings are cancelled until following May 31st.

All future court process requiring an accused to appear before the court should be to a date following May 31st.

Proceedings in Yellowknife

All matters that are presently scheduled for trial, preliminary inquiry, sentencing or otherwise for hearing in Yellowknife are to proceed as scheduled until further notice.

Civil and Family Court

All Civil and Family docket day appearances in Yellowknife involving individuals who are at liberty are cancelled until June 1st unless otherwise directed.

However, counsel may have the matter brought forward to appear as agent or counsel for such individuals in their absence.

The only matters that will proceed on docket days without being brought forward as set out in the previous paragraph will be applications to confirm child apprehensions, time-limited matters, or trials and other hearings set to the docket day.

Criminal and Youth Court

All Criminal and Youth Court docket day appearances in Yellowknife involving individuals who are at liberty are cancelled until June 1st unless otherwise directed.

However, counsel may have the matter brought forward to appear as agent or counsel for such individuals.

The only matters that will proceed on docket days without being brought forward as set out in the previous paragraph will be trials, preliminary inquiries, sentencings and hearings that are set for docket days.

All individuals who are at liberty and who have matters scheduled before June 1st and who have matters other than trials, preliminary inquiries, sentencings or hearings are to be resummonsed to the first available scheduled docket day following May 31st.

Any individuals who have been detained pending resolution of their charges will appear on docket day via video-link.

Wellness and DVTO Court

Wellness Court and DVTO Court proceedings are cancelled until following May 31st.

Civil Mediation

Civil mediation sessions previously set prior to June 1st will be rescheduled to dates that follow May 31st.

Summons and Other Court Process

All future court process requiring an accused to appear before the court should be to a date following May 31st.

Justice of the Peace Court

Absolutely ALL Justice of the Peace proceedings are cancelled until June 1st subject to the following exceptions:

Bail hearings and interim proceedings involving judicial interim release are to proceed remotely by video or audio.

Peace bond applications will proceed as usual.

All accused who are released following bail hearings are to be required to attend court on a date after June 1st unless the circumstances require otherwise.

In Chambers Matters

All in chambers meetings with judges are to be dealt with by teleconference until June 1st.

Emergency Matters
Any emergency or time-limited matters that arise at any location in the Northwest Territories will be dealt with as the circumstances may require.

Exceptions

Territorial Court Judges may direct that in a particular case the foregoing measures by departed from, where they determine that the circumstances require it.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.

Be the first to comment on "Coronavirus brings postponements to NWT court system"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*