Saskatchewan courts further reduce services amid COVID-19 crisis

Saskatchewan courts are further reducing services in an effort to protect the health and safety of court users and staff.

Crown and defence counsel have blanket permission to appear by telephone on all matters except trials and preliminary hearings until further notice, said Chief Judge J.A. Plemel in a notice March 22.

Access to provincial court houses across the province is restricted to only counsel, litigants, the accused, witnesses, support workers, treatment court workers and the media. Plemel said the court managers and deputy sheriffs will exercise their discretion to allow other members of the public if they consider their entry crucial.

Anyone experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms or those who were advised to self-isolate shouldn’t go to a courthouse. Anyone falling into this category who has a scheduled court appearance — including anyone subpoenaed to attend court — must immediately call the appropriate court office or the local provincial prosecutions office to get further instructions.

All circuit court locations are closed until after May 31, 2020. The docket court proceedings at circuit courts are adjourned to after May 31, 2020. The accused person doesn’t have to contact the courthouse but must appear on the date the case was adjourned. Anyone accused who doesn’t have a lawyer for a trial or a preliminary hearing should contact the courthouse before the original scheduled date.

Bail hearings and sentencing matters for in-custody accused will continue by telephone and video-conferencing at the closest permanent court point, unless otherwise directed differently by the court.

All court cases involving non-custody accused are adjourned to after May 31, 2020. The adjournment dates will be posted on the court website and outside of the courthouse.

All 13 of the permanent provincial court locations will stay open.

Urgent Child Protection matters will proceed at permanent provincial court locations and the judges will decide if and how hearings will occur.

All tickets and trials requiring your court appearance for tickets at all court locations scheduled between March 23 and May 31, 2020, are adjourned. You can make your payment online or by mail. Call the courthouse by phone to request pay extensions and to enter not guilty pleas.

All small claims trials scheduled between March 22 and May 31, 2020, are adjourned.

All stand-alone bylaw courts are closed until May 31, 2020.

All people attending court are required to follow social distancing protocols of keeping two metres of space between themselves and others. Only 25 people will be allowed at once in a courtroom.

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