(Information current as of July 14, 2020)
The novel coronavirus has created unprecedented circumstances, worldwide. This has unsurprisingly meant that we have had to adjust our services, out of safety to ourselves, our staff, and the public. This is also in cooperation with the courts and directives from the government.
During the pandemic, we have been available via telephone and email, as usual. Appointments have been set up by phone or video conference, as needed.
Effective July 1, 2020, we have moved to 704-30 Duke Street West (across the street from our old offices at 30 Queen Street North). We are still in the process of getting things set up, but are in a position to offer in person meetings on an as needed basis.
With respect to in-court services, the priority for the courts is ensuring that people do not remain in custody unnecessarily, and trying to prevent an unmanageable backlog. The following directives have been issued by the courts in Ontario:
- Court of Appeal: in-person appearances have been cancelled indefinitely, with appeals being ‘heard’ either in writing or by video conference.
- Superior Court of Justice: all courts are closed through the end of August 2020, with limited exceptions for trial matters. The next round of ‘assignment courts’ will be in September 2020, for matters previously adjourned. Bail reviews and other matters are being held by remote hearing.
- Ontario Court of Justice: all out-of-custody remand matters through the end of July 2020 are currently being remanded administratively for 10 weeks (unless otherwise arranged. Previously scheduled trials and preliminary hearings resumed in person with strict restrictions, as of July 6, 2020. Remote bail and guilty plea courts are continuing to run.
We are continuing to keep the lines of communication open with our clients, both in and out of custody. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time with questions or concerns about anything. This has been a stressful time for everyone, and we are continuing to do everything in our power to help.