Provincial Court of BC: COVID-19 Updates

  • July 02, 2020

Here is a summary of the Notices and Practice Directions issued by Chief Judge Gillespie and effective July 2, 2020:

  1. New Practice Direction - Early Resolution Process and Expedited Court Process to Change or Suspend Child or Spousal Support Due to COVID-19 (FAM 08):
    • New 2 step process available (but not required) for a party who is only seeking a suspension or change to an existing agreement or Provincial Court order about child support or spousal support as a result of a change in income since January 2020 that is related to COVID-19.
      • Step 1 - Dispute Resolution Process that may include mediation with a family justice counsellor, family law mediator, a collaborative family law process, or facilitated negotiation with a child support officer
      • Step 2 – if necessary, a hearing by telephone or videoconference unless otherwise ordered
  2. Revised Notice to the Profession and Public – COVID 19: Resumption of Further Court Operations (NP 19) – Updates include:
    • Provincial Court Registries will accept all:
      • Traffic filings as of July 2, 2020
      • Family and criminal filings as of July 8, 2020
      • Small Claims filings as of July 13, 2020
        provided they are filed by email, fax, mail, or Court Services Online for small claims. The Court Services Branch is continuing to examine when it can accept in-person filings. When registries open up for electronic filings on the dates above, the urgent hearing processes adopted in March will no longer be necessary and will be concluded. The pre-COVID court process for having urgent matters come before the Court will then apply.
      • Unsworn affidavits may still be filed.
      • New alternate locations for traffic hearings in Victoria, New Westminster, North Vancouver, and Port Coquitlam.  
      • Family and small claims conferences will be conducted by telephone or videoconference.
  3. Revised Practice Direction – Criminal Pre-trial Conferences during COVID-19 (CRIM 12):
    • Sets out criminal matters for which mandatory pre-trial conferences will be held.