The Manitoba Courts have been meeting with Manitoba Justice, Courts Administration and various stakeholders in the justice system to address the issues arising out of COVID-19. The Courts will be taking measures, which are pro-active and preventative in order to protect the participants in the justice system and to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The Courts recognize the seriousness of the situation and prioritize the health and safety of all court participants, while balancing the need to maintain judicial operations.
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 access to the courthouses, including circuit court locations in Manitoba will be restricted to only those persons who are necessary to the proceedings before the courts. This will include counsel, litigants, accused, witnesses and victim service workers. While the general public will not be allowed in the courthouses, in order to honour the open court principle, the press and media will still be allowed to attend. We do ask that no one who is experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms attend the courthouses.
Effective immediately, all trials scheduled to proceed by judge and jury prior to June 30, 2020 will not proceed with a jury. Rather, they will proceed by judge alone or will be rescheduled to proceed at a later date. Jury Selections are therefore also cancelled during this time. The one jury trial currently in progress will continue until its final disposition.
Further, all public tours, including school visits and mock trials will be postponed until further notice. Subject to the evolving issues arising out of COVID-19, Court of Queen’s Bench and the Provincial Court, the trial courts, will be prioritizing the matters that appear before them. Each level of court will keep the court stakeholders and its participants apprised of the effect of this prioritization and the potential impact on any hearings. The Court of Appeal intends to go ahead with its hearings as scheduled.
The Manitoba Courts will continue to actively monitor this situation and will continue to work on contingency planning. We recognize this situation is fluid and subject to rapid change. Each level of Court will continue to provide information on any changes to its operations by updating the Manitoba Courts Website - http://www.manitobacourts.mb.ca/ on an ongoing basis.
Lastly, the Manitoba Courts encourage all court stakeholders and individuals required to appear before it to follow precautions that can avoid the spread of infection, including COVID-19. Information can be found here - http://www.manitoba.ca/health/coronavirus/index.html
Chief Justice of Manitoba
Glenn D. Joyal
Court of Queen’s Bench
Contact: Aimee Fortier, Executive Assistant to the Chief Justices and Chief Judge
Tel: (204) 945-8043; Fax (204) 945-5751; email: firstname.lastname@example.org