Our staff, including all lawyers and assistants, are set up to work remotely and we will continue to provide all scheduled services.
If your meeting would normally be in person, we are pleased to offer meetings via Zoom Video Conferencing as well as regular telephone calls or teleconferences. Please let us know if you need some help setting up Zoom.
Most non-essential in-person meetings will be rescheduled to phone meetings, if at all possible.
Our offices will remain open to a degree (unless we are told to shut down), provided that anybody entering our offices is appropriately screened in accordance with the latest B.C. Health guidelines. We kindly ask that you do not come to our offices unless you have been expressly cleared to do so by one of our staff.
As a result of the evolving situation with COVID-19, the Courts have made modifications to their normal operations.
The Provincial Court is reducing operations while attempting to ensure meaningful access for those with urgent matters until further notice. The Court anticipates that only urgent family matters (i.e. Emergency Protection Orders) will proceed. At this time, the Provincial Court has adjourned all family case conferences between March 16 and May 4, to be rescheduled at a date after May 4. It is unclear as to whether Provincial Court Hearings will proceed. Please see: https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/COVID19.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia has adjourned all non-emergency matters. The Chief Justice has given the following statement:
As part of the Court’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered the suspension of all regular operations, effective immediately and until further notice. It is a constitutional imperative that the courts must remain open; however, in light of the extraordinary circumstances during the current public health emergency, members of the public who do not have urgent business before the court are discouraged from attending any courthouse. Any matter scheduled for an appearance today shall proceed unless the presiding judge orders otherwise. All regular hearings scheduled after today are adjourned indefinitely.
The Court has now issued a definition of “urgent” family matters:
Essential and urgent matters in family proceedings include those in which the following relief is sought: • Orders relating to the safety of a child or parent due to a risk of violence or immediate harm (e.g., a protection order, conduct orders, or exclusive possession of the home); • Orders relating to the risk of removal of a child from the jurisdiction (e.g., relocation, non-removal, wrongful removal or retention of a child); and • Orders relating to the well-being of a child (e.g., essential medical decisions, urgent issues relating to parenting time, contact or communication with a child that cannot reasonably be delayed).
The situation is still evolving and all information is subject to change. We anticipate there will be a bottleneck of proceedings going into the summer months where judicial resources will be tight. This will most likely result in significant delays in rescheduling a matter.
As an alternative to court processes, we can examine whether other options may be available to assist in moving your matter forward, including 4-Way Settlement Meetings, Mediation, Arbitration, or any other form of non-Court process.
We remain committed to provided you with the best possible service during this difficult time.
Stay healthy, and we will update you if the situation changes in any way.