Manitoba courts adjourning, rescheduling proceedings over next month

Manitoba courts are pushing back a month’s worth of trials and proceedings effective this week, as cases of COVID-19 rise across the province.

All currently scheduled, in-person Court of Queen’s Bench trials set to start between Nov. 16 and Dec. 11 will be adjourned for rescheduling, except for judge-alone criminal trials where the accused is already in custody, the court said in a news release Tuesday.

Trials that are already in progress will continue until completion, the statement said. Judicial services being done through video or audio conference in the areas of criminal, civil, family, and child protection will continue unchanged.

At the provincial court level, starting Thursday, all remaining circuit court sittings scheduled throughout Manitoba will be cancelled until Dec. 11, according to a Tuesday news release from the provincial court.

All circuit court matters will be adjourned until the first sitting after that date.

All adult and youth out-of-custody appearances in Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Brandon, Dauphin, The Pas and Thompson from Nov. 12 to Dec. 11 will also be cancelled, the statement said. If you have an appearance between those dates, you’re encouraged to contact your lawyer, check the Manitoba Courts website or contact the court centre.

All inquests and standing hearings will also be adjourned.

Provincial court centres will still be open to all in-custody matters and bail and disposition will still run, the release said, with accused people appearing by phone.

Child protection dockets from the circuit courts will take place on the same day they were scheduled, but in court centres in Winnipeg, Thompson, The Pas or Portage la Prairie, the release said. Parents, guardians and social workers can’t be there in person, and counsel are encouraged to appear by phone.

Child protection trials are cancelled until Dec. 11, and counsel are encouraged to arrange case management meetings by teleconference to discuss alternatives.