As COVID-19 precautions begin to lift, many industries are slowly starting to test the waters and resume business in the new normal. Everything from local pubs and spa services has slowly opened their doors to service, with strict social distancing precautions in place. The BC CourtHouses have mostly remained closed to the public, despite these advances. Many legal professionals disagree with the continued closure of the public courthouses while other services have been able to open.
When COVID-19 restrictions closed the doors of BC CourtHouses, many individuals, families, and businesses were left to deal with unresolved court cases. Legal cases involve a wide variety of personal issues, many of which are time restrictive and will personally affect an individual's life. In the matters of family law, the implications caused by a paused case can have a drastic impact on the members of a family, specifically kids and those who are dependent.
Family law courts in BC remain mostly closed with only some matters going ahead in person, and most hearings taking place over the phone, despite the province preparing to begin phase three of the reopening process. Many law and legal professionals feel that family law proceedings are not getting the attention that they deserve, and children are paying the price. While there are some legal proceedings taking place for family court matters, there are many families who have been awaiting the outcome of child support hearings, custody battles, and more.
The BC Court of Appeal expects to reopen in Mid-July, however, delays can be expected with the transition. BC Provincial Court has resumed some operations as has the BC Supreme Court. The BC Health Ministry is working with all three levels of court to put proper safety protocols in place before opening doors.
Julia Tchezganova is an Associate at CBM Lawyers, where she advises clients on Family Law matters. Read more about Julia HERE.