As we referenced in our blog post earlier this week, Chief Justice Hinkson made directions with regard to how the Supreme Court of British Columbia will be resuming some regular operations. COVID-19 Notice No. 28 was issued on June 5, 2020, and it clarifies how chambers applications will proceed while regular operations continue to be suspended.
Chambers applications estimated for two hours or less may resume and will be conducted via telephone, pursuant to the guidelines outlined in Notice No. 28. Short leave applications are excluded, and chambers applications where the time estimate is in excess of two hours must be scheduled.
The instructions in Notice No. 28 for making a chambers application, preparing the application record, and participating in the chambers hearing are outlined below:
A. Making an Application
· Applications made in civil chambers must be in compliance with the Supreme Court Civil Rules.
· In the applicant’s notice of application (Form 32), the applicant must:
o identify the place of hearing (Chilliwack, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, New Westminster, Prince George, Vancouver, Vernon, Victoria, or Williams Lake);
o indicate that the hearing is by telephone;
o identify their mailing address, their email address, and the telephone number where the registry may contact them to confirm telephone conferencing information.
· If the respondent wishes to respond, they must file an application response (Form 33), and must include their mailing address, their email address, and the telephone number where the registry may contact them to confirm telephone conferencing information.
· If parties had an application set for hearing that was adjourned as a result of the Court’s suspension of regular operations, the parties may reset the application for hearing by way of requisition in accordance with Rule 8-1(21.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules. While not required to file a modified notice of application, the parties must provide their mailing address, email address, and telephone number they can be reached at.
B. Application Record
· The applicant’s application record must be provided to the registry where the hearing is taking place no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for the hearing.
· The application record must be placed in application record box at the location where the hearing is to take place.
· The applicant must serve the application record index on each respondent no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for hearing.
· The application record must have an external cover page, and must include contact information for each of the parties (email is preferred). If the registry is unable to contact parties for teleconference details, the matter may not be put on the court list.
· If the parties elect to submit a draft order in the application record, a backing sheet must be included with a mailing address.
· Application records will not be returned to the parties.
· Application records not provided to the registry within the stipulated timeframes will be struck from the chambers list.
C. The Chambers Hearing
· The parties will receive an email with instructions on how to join the telephone conference and the time they must check in with the court clerk at least one day prior to the hearing date.
· The parties are required to check in with the court clerk when they join the teleconference, and must stay on the line with a muted connection until their matter is called.
In Notice No. 28, Chief Justice Hinkson also advised that parties will be held to their time estimate – parties exceeding their time estimate or the two-hour time limit could face cost consequences.