Court closures and the exceptions
Effective March 19, 2020, revised April 16, 2020, by the order (the “Closure Order”) of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, all regular court operations are suspended and all matters scheduled to be heard are automatically adjourned. However, the Closure Order indicates that courts, at their discretion, may hear essential and urgent matters. Essential and urgent matters within civil litigation include:
- matters related to public health and safety and COVID-19, including:
- orders under the Quarantine Act; and
- orders under the Public Health Act.
- matters where there is a prima facie urgency, including:
- refusal of treatment and end of life matters, including applications under the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act;
- detention of individuals, including under the Mental Health Act and the Adult Guardianship Act;
- emergency adult guardianship and committeeship orders, including under the Adult Guardianship Act and Patients Property Act;
- housing evictions, including interim stays of orders of possession under the Residential Tenancy Act;
- civil restraining orders;
- preservation orders;
- urgent injunction applications; and
- urgent orders in the nature of habeas corpus, certiorari, mandamus and prohibition.
As noted the court’s decision to hear a matter is discretionary. This means that if your matter is not enumerated above, a court may still consider it to be urgent. Unfortunately, there have been no published decisions in regards to urgency within civil litigation at the time of this posting. For examples of urgency within family law, please review our COVID-19 Family posting, or for a personal assessment of your situation, please contact one of the lawyers at Hawthorne Piggott and Company.