May 6, 2020
This Notice updates and continues the Notice issued March 17, 2020, suspending regular operations of the Nunavut Court of Justice (NCJ) on account of COVID-19. The Chief Justice has directed that the suspension of regular NCJ operations continue through to Friday, July 3, 2020. This direction was made after the Chief Justice met with the Chief Public Health Officer in late April and recognizes the Minister of Health’s order of April 29, 2020, extending the Public Health State of Emergency in Nunavut until May 14, 2020.
UPDATE RESPECTING COMMUNITY CRIMINAL CIRCUITS OUTSIDE OF IQALUIT
Emergency Closure Orders have again been issued, on a community-by-community basis, territory-wide, for criminal court circuits that were scheduled to take place in June. Criminal matters scheduled to a June community criminal circuit are now returnable in court at 9:30 a.m. on the first day of the first scheduled circuit in the community after July 3, 2020. Each community ECO contains information on the date matters that have been rescheduled to.
IQALUIT CRIMINAL CIRCUIT MATTERS (appearances and hearings)
A new Emergency Closure Order (ECO) has also been issued for Iqaluit. Any criminal matter returnable during the term of the ECO in Iqaluit is now returnable to be spoken to on Monday, July 6, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. in Iqaluit.
DESIGNATED (CRIMINAL) ASSIGNMENT COURT WEEK JUNE 1
SPECIAL CRIMINAL LAW SITTINGS (JURY AND JUDGE ALONE TRIALS, CHAMBERS HEARINGS)
All special criminal law sittings, territory-wide, scheduled to a date in June has been adjourned to a second DAC which will commence, in Iqaluit, on Monday July 6, 2020 at 9: 30 a.m.
CRIMINAL MATTERS GENERALLY
The NCJ continues to facilitate the adjudication of as many special sittings as resources, both human and technological, allow. Counsel are encouraged to continue bringing forward matters deemed suitable for hearing or resolution during the suspension period. The NCJ will accommodate as many bring forward requests as resources permit.
Jurisdiction on all criminal matters impacted by an ECO is preserved and maintained by virtue of the ECO itself, and by the Bench Warrant endorsements affixed to each Information.
Further, the Court will convene a DAC at the conclusion of any future ECO which may issue for the purposes of speaking to all cases impacted by the ECO. Further, the Court will convene a DAC at the conclusion of any future ECO which may issue for the purposes of speaking to all cases impacted by the ECO.
SPECIAL CIVIL LAW SITTINGS (TRIALS AND APPLICATIONS)
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE PROGRAM
No changes will be made to the current Justice of the Peace operations. Iqaluit and community bail hearings will continue via teleconference. Peace bond applications, first stage child welfare hearings, and FAIA applications will also continue using teleconferencing.
SERVICES BEING OFFERED TO DATE AND EXPANSION OF SERVICES MOVING FORWARD
As mentioned in the Chief Justice’s March 17 Notice, the suspension of regular operations is not to be confused with a stoppage of court operations. The NCJ is committed to ensuring the continued administration of Justice in Nunavut to the extent the current COVID crisis allows and resources permit.
The Court acknowledges the efforts of the Bar and Court Services staff over the past month and a half. The ingenuity and flexible approaches to technology demonstrated by counsel and staff have ensured the contiBail hearings, bail reviews, Section 525 detention reviews, peace bonds, sentencings, Dangerous Offender Applications, emergency family law applications, child welfare dockets, and FAIA matters have all proceeded during the suspension period.
Bail hearings, bail reviews, Section 525 detention reviews, peace bonds, sentencings, Dangerous Offender Applications, emergency family law applications, child welfare dockets, and FAIA matters have all proceeded during the suspension period.
The NCJ looks forward to continuing to work with counsel in aid of expanding judicial service offerings. Counsel will continue to be encouraged to bring forward any matter suitable for hearing through a remote appearance.
Dated May 6, 2020, at Iqaluit, Nunavut
By Direction of Neil Sharkey
Chief Justice of the Nunavut Court of Justice
The PDF version of the notice can be located here.