Prince Edward Island Courts - COVID-19 Impacts
The Courts continue to take all steps directed by the Public Health Emergency to contain community spread. The Courts remain accessible, for urgent, emergency or essential matters, and mostly by audio and video means.
On March 18, the Supreme Court suspended regular operations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, the Court has only heard urgent, emergency or essential matters.
While it is impossible to predict when the Court will be in a position to resume regular operations, in all likelihood it will not be for some time. Between now and the end of May, the Supreme Court will not be hearing any matters (other than urgent, emergency or essential). This includes previously scheduled case management conference calls, pre-motion conferences, settlement conferences, pre-trial conferences and trials. The Court will continue to hear urgent, emergency or essential matters, in accordance with the process outlined in Prothonotary's Notice of April 1, 2020. The status of the Court's operations will be assessed on an ongoing basis.
The Court continues to operate with a skeleton staff, including for filing purposes. Everyone is reminded to only file documents that are necessary to be filed, for example, documents related to matters that have been deemed by the triage process to be urgent, emergency or essential, or documents required to comply with filing deadlines or limitation periods. In addition, with a view to respecting the directions of the Chief Public Heath Office and social distancing, everyone is reminded of the availability of e-filing and filing by fax, as set out in Practice Direction 46 dated March 20, 2020.
Court of Appeal
Between now and the end of May, no new appeals will be scheduled, except regarding appeals of motions assessed by the Court to be urgent, essential or emergency. Regarding appeals for which pre-hearing filings were complete before March 13 and were scheduled to be heard between now and the end of May, a pre-hearing telephone conference will be arranged to explore the potential of a hearing by telephone or video or a decision based on the written facts alone.
The judiciary and court staff continue to appreciate the cooperation of all as we continue to deal with this pandemic.
Minimize in-person contact
All members of the public are expected to follow the directions of the Chief Public Health Office. Any person who is subject to self-isolation or quarantine or is experiencing possible coronavirus / COVID-19 symptoms must not personally attend any courthouse.
Most court proceedings are adjourned
Individuals with matters scheduled before a court should contact their lawyer. If an individual does not have lawyer, contact court staff to seek directions prior to attending court facilities.
All in-person court appearances, other than for urgent or emergency matters, are suspended until further notice.
Urgent matters will continue to be heard, using technology in a manner determined appropriate by the court, including hearings by way of telephone or video appearance.
Filing court documents
On a very limited basis, lawyers and parties may continue to file documents at the courthouses. Personal filing through the courts' drop box system is limited to urgent or necessary documents to meet a required time line, or other documents that reasonably necessitate in-person filing.
All other document filing should be by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about court appearances
Individuals who have questions about court appearances should first contact their lawyer. If an individual does not have a lawyer, or if further information is required, contact the following:
- Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal: 902-368-6024
- Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island: 902-368-6023
Provincial Court of Prince Edward Island
In order to protect the health and safety of all Court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19, the Provincial Court of Prince Edward Island is reducing court operations while ensuring meaningful access to the Court for those with urgent matters.
Effective March 20, 2020, and until further notice, access to Provincial Courts in Prince Edward Island will be restricted to only those persons who are necessary to the proceedings before the Court. This will include counsel, accused, witnesses, support workers, and members of the media. Those who are required to attend Court in person are expected to follow the recommendations of the Chief Health Office, including social distancing.
Priority will be given to dealing with urgent matters where the accused person is in custody. Other matters will be adjourned by use of telephone, audio or videoconferencing, as required. For those persons who are represented by a lawyer, the lawyer will appear by telephone to adjourn the case.
For those accused persons who are not represented by a lawyer, contact the Provincial Court in advance of their scheduled court date to obtain a new date:
- Call 902-368-6693 for Charlottetown
- Call 902-888-8187 for Summerside
Those who have matters scheduled before the Provincial Court between March 23, 2020 and May 31, 2020 should visit the Provincial Court website at www.courts.pe.ca for further details on how these matters will be dealt with and for updates as the situation develops.