British Columbia

Pandemic prompts B.C. to extend suspension of civil jury trials for a year

The suspension of civil jury trials in British Columbia is being extended for a year in an effort to help courts remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suspension starts Sept. 28, with civil jury trials set to resume on Oct. 4, 2021

Any civil trial in B.C. between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4, 2021, next fall will be heard by a judge alone. (David Horemans/CBC)

The suspension of civil jury trials in British Columbia is being extended for a year in an effort to help courts remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from Attorney General David Eby says they've made the changes in consultation with key legal sectors in an effort to find the best way forward during the pandemic.

The suspension which started March 19 has now been extended to Oct. 4, 2021.

The statement says any civil trial between those dates will be heard by a judge alone and neither side in the case will be allowed to adjourn it unless the judge orders otherwise.

The government says the suspension will help minimize delays linked to measures needed to keep a jury safe from COVID-19 while in court.

Law Society of B.C. president Craig Ferris and Jennifer Brun, the president of the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association, say their groups support changes that ensure some civil cases can continue during the pandemic.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the suspension of civil jury trials would begin September 28, in fact, B.C.'s attorney general announced an extension of a suspension that began in March of this year.
    Sep 18, 2020 2:13 PM PT

With files from CBC

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