Update from the Courts: Return to More Regular Sittings of the Trial Courts

May 28, 2020

The Law Society received a letter from the Chief Justice of Alberta, the Chief Justice of Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Alberta updating members of the Bar on steps currently being taken to facilitate a return to more regular sittings of the trial courts. This comes in response to the provincial government’s recent relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions.

Beginning June 1, 2020, the Queen’s Bench will start to schedule four trial courtrooms equipped with new plexiglass shielding for in-person trials each week in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and Lethbridge, with priority given to in-custody and Jordan-threatened trials. Similarly, once Provincial Court courthouses and courtrooms identified as priority have had the necessary protective measures put in place, the Provincial Court will commence hearing in-person out-of­-custody trials at these locations.

We are sharing the letter as it contains more detailed information about the courts’ plan to move forward with matters, using a combination of technology and enhanced safety practices to ensure the safety of those involved in the courts’ processes. We join the courts in encouraging lawyers to cooperate with one another to facilitate remote hearings, where possible, and to reschedule matters in a timely way.

Please consult the Alberta courts’ website for further information. Their site is regularly updated to provide lawyers with current information, forms and guidance on new procedures.