NOTICE TO THE PROFESSION AND GENERAL PUBLIC – SUPREME COURT OPERATIONS
SUPREME COURT OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
NOTICE TO THE PROFESSION AND GENERAL PUBLIC
SUPREME COURT OPERATIONS FOR GENERAL DIVISION AND
FAMILY DIVISION JUDICIAL CENTRES
APRIL 4 – APRIL 29, 2022
For the information of all stakeholders, this Notice outlines the planned operations for the General Division and Family Division in all judicial centres from April 4-April 29, 2022. This Notice does not introduce any changes from the scope of operations in place in February-March 2022.
Please note that the Supreme Court will continue to require that all persons entering a courthouse wear a 3-layer mask during this period and that they otherwise comply with the Supreme Court’s COVID-19 Guidelines.
Operations from April 4-29, 2022
For the period running from April 4-29, 2022, all Supreme Court General Division and Family Division judicial centres will continue in a hybrid in-person/virtual services model. Under this model, the Court will continue hearing some matters in-person, while continuing to conduct a significant amount of its business virtually. Note that any matter that proceeds in-person will be held in accordance with the COVID-19 Guidelines issued by the Court.
Criminal, civil and family trials scheduled to begin between April 4-29, 2022, may proceed in-person. Counsel and parties are encouraged, however, to identify trials that could be conducted virtually or to identify trial participants that could appear remotely. Where that is the case, and with the approval of the presiding judge, Court staff members will contact the parties to make arrangements for the conduct of the trial.
All hearings that are set to be heard virtually will proceed. Hearings that are set to be heard in-person may proceed, but each of these will be assessed by Court staff members, in consultation with the judiciary, to determine if they may be appropriately heard virtually or if one or more participants could appear remotely. Where that is the case, and with the approval of the presiding judge, Court staff members will contact the parties to make arrangements for the conduct of the hearing.
No new in-person hearings will be scheduled for this period, unless they are urgent. Urgent matters would include the following:
- Criminal Proceedings – bail hearings, bail review applications where the accused is in custody, and detention reviews
- Family Proceedings – requests for urgent relief relating to the safety of a child or parent; applications relating to medical decisions or wrongful removal of a child; applications to preserve property or assets; warrants under the Children, Youth and Families Act; and new applications under the Adult Protection Act
Other matters that a judge determines to be urgent may also proceed in-person.
Conferences will continue virtually.
Filing and Processing Documents
Supreme Court courthouses will remain open for the weeks of April 4-29, 2022. All persons are encouraged to use the drop boxes at the front of the courthouses for contactless drop-off and pick up of documents. The drop boxes and mail hubs are accessible during the Court’s normal business hours. Documents that are delivered in the drop boxes less than one hour before the Court’s normal closing time will be time stamped as received on the following business day.
Where necessary, individuals may attend at the Registry counter for in-person service. In the St. John’s General Division and Family Division courthouses, individuals must make an appointment using the online scheduling system (note that urgent in-person service may be provided in the absence of an appointment).
Please also note the following:
- Email filings will not be accepted (with the exception of email filings permitted in accordance with Practice Note P.N. 2020-03)
- For documents left in a drop box, filing fees must be paid in one of the following ways: (1) the filing party may include a cheque enclosed with the document being filed; or (2) the filing party may provide a contact name and number with the document so that the Court can process a credit card payment by phone
- Forms may be downloaded from the Court’s website
- Processing times may be delayed owing to reduced staffing levels.
Contacting the Court
If you are seeking an urgent hearing or you have questions about your upcoming appearance, or need other assistance on an urgent basis, please contact the applicable Registry using the contact information below:
Corner Brook General Division and Family Division
Gander General Division
Grand Bank General Division
Grand Falls-Windsor General Division
Happy Valley-Goose Bay General Division
St. John’s Family Division
St. John’s General Division
Public and Media Access to Virtual Trials and Hearings
The Court will continue facilitating virtual attendance by members of the media and the public at virtual trials and hearings. To find out what matters are proceeding and when, please consult the Court’s docket posted on the Court’s website.
If you wish to attend one of the matters listed on the docket, you should contact the Court’s inquiries email address (listed above for each judicial centre) at least 48 hours prior to the hearing of the matter in question. Requests should indicate the file number, case name, and date of the hearing you wish to attend. If the matter is one that the public would ordinarily be able to attend, you will be given a teleconference number so that you may call in to listen to the proceedings.
The Supreme Court will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation across the province to determine whether any further changes to operations are required. Please continue to consult the Court’s website and Twitter account (@NLSupremeCourt) for the most up-to-date information.
RAYMOND P. WHALEN