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N.L. courts further expanding services since reopening amid pandemic

Newfoundland and Labrador provincial courts will now decide on criminal trials through teleconference. (Martek)

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Supreme Court and provincial court are continuing to expand services under the province’s public health orders.

The provincial court said in a news release Wednesday it will now decide all criminal trials that can be properly presented using virtual means.

The Newfoundland and Labrador court system began coming online again earlier this month after shutting down amid the COVID-19 pandemic and public health orders issued in March. 

On May 4 both the Supreme Court and provincial court reopened to limited services for the first time since closing, using video conferencing to allow certain cases that do not require in person attendance.

Trials, proceedings and filings involving in-person attendance were suspended.

“We have taken steps to encourage lawyers and other participants to get more comfortable with, and capable of, using their computers, tablets and smartphones to access the court,” the provincial court said. 

“We have recently increased our video-conferencing capabilities. This better enables us to get on with the business of justice during the pandemic.”

The Supreme Court will expand its services to include criminal proceedings, civil proceedings and family proceedings beginning on Tuesday.

These matters will be heard via audio or teleconference, not in person.

The Court will also accept filings for processing and access requests, starting Tuesday.

“Please note that processing times will be considerably longer than normal due to the limited number of staff members permitted within the Registries at any given time,” the Court said in a news statement. 

Access requests should be sent to the respective emails of the individual courts. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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