Nunavut courts suspend most operations due to COVID-19

Regular operations to resume Feb. 7

Nunavut’s regular court operations have been suspended until Feb. 7, according to a notice issued by the acting chief justice of the Nunavut Court of Justice on Wednesday. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Nunavut Court of Justice has suspended its regular operations until Feb. 7 because of the spread of COVID-19 in the territory.

All scheduled criminal court sittings in Iqaluit, special criminal sittings in communities outside Iqaluit, as well as Nunavut-wide circuit sittings will be cancelled during that time, according to a notice issued Wednesday by acting chief justice Susan Cooper and posted to the Nunavut Court of Justice’s Twitter account.

All matters impacted by this suspension have been adjourned. That includes all circuit court matters, out-of-custody criminal matters, in-custody criminal matters, matters scheduled in the Justice of the Peace Court, all municipal court matters, as well as all matters set to Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions.

The Nunavut courts remain open to hear criminal matters that lawyers or litigants want to bring forward, but those matters will have to be heard over video or audio conferences, the notice says.

Bail hearings will also continue for both Iqaluit and outside communities. They will take place between Monday and Friday at 2 p.m. eastern time. After hours on-call bail hearings will also continue.

Pre-trial and case management conferences can also be scheduled or continue during the suspension.

Another exception is all civil matters, which will proceed in Iqaluit as scheduled but will be conducted through video or audio conferencing.

Child welfare matters are also exceptions, as those scheduled for the circuit appearance between Jan. 10 and Feb. 7 will be rescheduled to an Iqaluit hearing on either Jan. 20 or Feb. 17.

Requests to access court records will not be able to be completed within the usual five-business-day period because of government closures and staff working remotely, the notice states.

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