Below is commentary from ACJ Holmstrom, which he has asked that I forward to counsel along with the attached:
Attached is how our division proposes to move forward from May 25. Chief and Council is expected to approve the plan on Monday as part of the next phase of The Provincial Court Pandemic Plan. The Plan will look a bit different in some regions and in some divisions.
The clerk's office has been instrumental in coming up with much of this approach and in making our courtrooms as safe as possible at this time. As 441 is used for Child Protection in the morning, there is Webex and telephone. With prior arrangements with the clerk's office, I imagine lawyers can arrange to attend remotely in Family docket. If lawyers know a matter is to be further adjourned, they can send in a note and not have to appear in 441 family docket. The same could be the case with a family trial to be adjourned by consent.
Family trials are likely the most safe thing moving forward as we have very few people in the courtroom, and our courtrooms are or will be "covidized". We have advised Legal Aid as we know duty counsel are going to be needed again in family docket and we have to find a way to enhance their safety. We also have notified the Family Court Counselors and are following up with them later today.
Right now our numbers show around 400 family docket matters from May 25 to July 2. We have 44 family trials and 31 family JDR's in that time frame. There are number of Child Protection and Youth matters as well. Wholesale adjournments of every matter are not going to continue, but we are also mindful of being careful and following government directions. We are trying to find as much balance as possible. Perfection is not going to be achieved. We recognize it will also be a learning process for all.