Most of Saskatchewan’s courts have returned to in-person, regular sitting schedules once again, as the province begins to normalize post-pandemic.
Chief Judge Shannon Metivier made the announcement on July 12th, stating that all permanent courts and most circuit courts have returned to regular sitting schedules.
While the court does return to sittings, hygiene stations and physical barriers will remain in place. Also, anyone in the court will have the option to continue wearing a mask.
The exception is unless they’re asked to take it off by a judge, or a deputy sheriff for security screening purposes.
If counsel or an unrepresented accused wants to appear by telephone for a docket court appearance they should contact the court office at least two business days prior. This is so that the court can determine if physical presence is needed to attend to the matter at hand.
Procedures at Court of Queen’s Bench
Meanwhile, despite Step 3 of Saskatchewan’s Re-Opening plan going ahead, the Court of Queen’s Bench will continue following its own directive until further notice.
There are some exceptions, however. Persons entering a courthouse will no longer be screened with a COVID-19 assessment by Court Security. Masks will still be offered, and people who are showing signs of illness may be asked to return another time.
Access to the Local Registry offices is no longer restricted, however, anyone needing their services is asked to explore phone, email or fax options before coming in, wherever possible.
A presiding judge may still require that masks be worn and that physical distance is maintained in a courtroom as well.
All other provisions of the August 31, 2020 Directive remain in effect. Other than trials or other criminal matters, all other court business will be heard over the phone.
Subject to the further direction of the Court, jury trials are being scheduled to resume offsite in September 2021.