How Covid-19 impacts your Urgent Court Application

Currently, British Columbia Supreme Courts and Provincial Courts of BC are closed to the general public in an attempt to help contain the spread of Covid-19 across BC.  This means that all Supreme Court and Provincial Court courthouses are now closed to the general public and all in-person operations are otherwise suspended.  If you previously had a hearing scheduled between March 19, 2020 and May 1, 2020, that hearing has now been adjourned, unless otherwise directed by the court.  This adjournment extends to all chambers applications, trials and conferences that were to occur on or before May 1, 2020.  However, urgent court applications can still be made despite the covid-19 pandemic.

B.C Courts Hearing Urgent Court Applications & Covid-19

When the court deems an application to be urgent and appropriate, urgent court applications can still be made despite the Covid-19 pandemic using video and telephone technology.  This means it is within the court’s discretion to determine whether or not a case is urgent or not.  In the family law context, issues such as denial of parenting time due to Covid-19 has been considered to be an urgent matter.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice case of Thomas v. Wohleber2020 ONSC 1965 [Thomas], a decision published on March 30, 2020,  found that the following factors were necessary in order to meet the requirement of urgency:

1.   The concern must be immediate; that is one that cannot await resolution at a later date;

2.   The concern must be serious in the sense that it significantly affects the health or  safety or economic well-being of parties and/or their children;

3.   The concern must be a definite and material rather than a speculative one. It must relate to something tangible (a spouse or child’s health, welfare, or dire financial circumstances) rather than theoretical;

4.   It must be one that has been clearly particularized in evidence and examples that describes the manner in which the concern reaches the level of urgency.

Contact our Vancouver family law lawyers to discuss whether your case qualifies as an “urgent” matter or not.  There have been no disruptions to our services at Nasser Allan – we have the systems in place to provide fully remote assistance, consultations and urgent court applications.  We have remained open, as an essential service provider, and are ready and able to discuss your case via telephone or video technology. Contact info@nasserallan.ca.

Examples – Urgent Court Applications & Covid-19

In the case of Chrisjohn v. Hillier, March 26, 2020,  a mother refused to return a child due to fears that the father was not practicing social distancing.  Upon the father providing evidence that he was practicing social distancing, the mother was ordered to return the child to the father, with a police enforcement clause.

In Perkins v. Macierzynska, March 27, 2020, a mother had parenting time with child and during that parenting time the child got sick with pneumonia.  The mother took the child to the child’s maternal grandmother, in a different city, to go to a hospital for treatment. The hospital treated the child and said child would be fine in a week. The mother told father she could not return to the city so father could not have parenting time until mid-April. The Judge ordered return of kid to father.