NP: Courtroom Procedures for In-Person Court Appearances

  • March 27, 2020

Notice to the Profession, the Public and the Media Regarding Courtroom Procedures for In-Person Court Appearances

In order to protect the health and safety of court users, court staff and others and to help limit the spread of COVID-19, the following new procedures are being implemented for court proceedings where there counsel, parties, media and the public are attending in person:

1. Do not enter the courtroom if you have any flu-like symptoms or if you have been in contact with someone who has or is suspected of having COVID-19. Instead, leave the courthouse immediately and make arrangements to reschedule the hearing of your matter.

Courtrooms with a single scheduled matter

2. For courtrooms where only one matter is being heard, maintain an appropriate distance (2 metres) from other people at all times in the courtroom, in the courthouse and elsewhere. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. These practices also apply to members of the public or the media who are observing court proceedings.

Courtrooms with more than one scheduled matter

3. For courtrooms where more than one matter is scheduled to be heard, counsel or parties entering the courtroom to check in with the court clerk should enter the courtroom one person at a time. Others should wait outside the courtroom with an appropriate distance (2 metres) between people.

4. When checking in for your matter, provide the court clerk with a cell phone number at which you can be reached that day. Then leave the courtroom, and wait in a suitable place, at least 2 metres away from other people.

5. When your case is about to be called, the court clerk will contact you at the cell phone number you have given.

6. Maintain an appropriate distance (2 metres) from other people at all times in the courtroom, in the courthouse and elsewhere. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.

These practices also apply to members of the public or the media who are observing court proceedings.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 27 March 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia