After nearly two years of electronic hearings, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal is returning to in-person sittings for all appeals and applications.
The court moved nearly all appeals and applications to either teleconferences or video conferences on March 23, 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
Starting on Feb. 28, all hearings at the court will resume with judges and clerks in the courtroom.
The Saskatchewan government is lifting all remaining provincial public health measures that day, including wearing masks in public places.
A notice from the Court of Appeal posted Wednesday said counsel and self-represented litigants may now opt to appear in-person or by WebEx video.
It could result in some proceedings featuring everyone present in the courtroom, or a hybrid hearing, with some participants physically present and others appearing by video, said Chief Justice Robert Richards.
“The court also retains the right to decide to hear a matter remotely even if it has previously been arranged to be heard in-person,” he said in the notice.
He also said masks might still be required in courtrooms.
“Notwithstanding the lifting of public health measures by the province, the court or presiding judge may still require that masks be worn and that physical distance be maintained in a courtroom during any proceeding.”
Participants who do appear remotely will not be able to file documents during the hearing. They will be required to file with the court and other parties at least one clear day before the hearing date.
The registry office will remain closed at this time, with document delivery continuing through eCourt, regular mail, email or fax. Documents can also be placed in a drop box at the court.
Members of the public who want to listen or observe court proceedings electronically can contact the court registry for information on accessing the proceedings.
The court cautioned that participants at hearings are not allowed to record or save still images or audio of the hearing unless they are accredited members of the media.
Accredited media are allowed to used recording devices or save audio recordings for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy of their reporting but not for broadcast or publication.