CRIM 05: Hearing of Bail Applications

  • September 07, 2023

Effective Dates:
September 18, 2023 for Northern, Interior, Island and Vancouver Regions
October 16, 2023 for Fraser Region





Since the Spring of 2021, the Court implemented the Northern Bail Pilot Project, a virtual bail initiative comprised of a technology stream (video and telephone enabled appearances) and a process stream (use of a Microsoft Teams channel and dedicated JCMs and sheriffs to canvass the hearing list and facilitate an accused person’s access to legal counsel). The goal was to find ways to ensure that the bail system operated as effectively and efficiently as possible to enable timely bail hearings before judges/justices where all accused were represented by legal counsel, if they chose. The Pilot expanded to the Interior Region (in April 2022) and the Island Region (in January 2023) as reflected in the CRIM 14 Practice Direction: Northern, Interior and Island Bail Pilot Project. Under the Pilot, bail hearings during court sitting hours in these Regions are conducted by judges attending remotely in virtual courtrooms using the Microsoft Teams (“Teams”) videoconference platform. Counsel and the accused also attend remotely by Teams. Evaluations have demonstrated benefits of centralized virtual bail hearings, including: allowing trials in smaller locations to proceed without being interrupted by bail hearings, reducing trial continuations, reducing displacement of accused people from their own communities and community supports, and increasing access to duty counsel. As such, the directions previously set out in the CRIM 14 Practice Direction will continue.

In examining the goals associated with virtual bail in the Northern, Island and Interior Regions, community displacement in the Lower Mainland is not as significant a concern, as correctional centres are located in the proximity of courthouses and communities and public transportation is available. Duty counsel has always been assigned to most court locations in the Fraser and Vancouver Regions so the need for timely access to duty counsel for all accused is already available. There are also daily bail/mixed remand courts in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Abbotsford, and Port Coquitlam. Therefore, while the bail courtrooms in the Fraser and Vancouver Regions will incorporate many of the virtual bail processes from the Northern, Island and Interior Regions, they will remain hybrid bail courtrooms. This allows for remote and in-person appearances by counsel and the judge, while the accused appears remotely by video in those bail hearings, with the ability for JCMs to schedule in-custody and out-of-custody dispositions into available court time.

Accordingly, the Court is setting out its directions relating to the hearing of all bail applicationsin the Province in this single consolidated Practice Direction.


The purpose of this practice direction is: (1) to provide directions for the processing and hearing of bail applicationsthroughout the Province; and (2) to rescind and replace CRIM 14 Northern, Interior, and Island Bail Pilot Project (effective September 18, 2023) and NP 26 Chilliwack Provincial Court Bail Pilot Project (effective October 16, 2023).


This practice direction applies to bail hearings for all adult and youth criminal files in the Northern, Interior, Island and Vancouver Regions starting September 18, 2023 and in the Fraser Region starting October 16, 2023.

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