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Alberta courts to see more in-person hearings starting July 6

Click to play video: 'Alberta Law Courts slowly reopening with restrictions' Alberta Law Courts slowly reopening with restrictions
WATCH (June 2): Courthouses in Alberta largely shut down in the middle of March because of the pandemic, but now they're beginning to resume some in-person trials and ramping up the use of online video conferencing. Sarah Ryan has the details from the Edmonton Law Courts – Jun 2, 2020

Starting July 6, provincial courts in Alberta will start to see more hearings done in-person as the justice system navigates the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Provincial Court of Alberta is very mindful of the need to expand in-person access to the court, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of courts users and the public, and to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Provincial Court of Alberta Chief Judge Terrence Matchett.

“Therefore, effective July 6, 2020, we will be increasing the number of criminal, family and youth and civil matters that can be heard in-person.”

Read more: ‘Boggles my mind’: Alberta law firm sounds alarm as COVID-19 grinds courts to a halt

Alberta Justice and Alberta Infrastructure helped create health and safety measures for provincial courts including:

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  • Physical distancing (and monitoring)
  • Wearing masks and other PPE
  • Modifying courtrooms and other spaces
  • Enhanced cleaning

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Courtrooms that have those measures in place will see more in-person hearings starting July 6. The remaining courtrooms will expand the number of in-person hearings they host once they put those required measures in place.

Read more: Alberta jury trials suspended amid coronavirus concerns

Circuit courts remain closed.

The Court of Queen’s Bench has been restricting hearings to only urgent matters since March.

Read more: Alberta restricts access to courthouses to reduce spread of COVID-19

“The Provincial Court will continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, and will provide updates regarding the staged reopening,” Matchett said.

“Managing physical distancing and other health and safety protocols will take the effort and cooperation of all court users and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.”

READ MORE: Canadian legal experts worried about coronavirus court

Albertans should not go to court for Traffic Court and should instead use online options.

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“If you have a matter that was automatically adjourned to a new court date of July 6, 2020, or later, you must contact the court by telephone or email on or before your new court date,” the office of the chief judge said in a statement.

For more information on specific cases and court locations, visit the Alberta Provincial Court website.

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