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Ontario announces courtroom cancellations amidst pandemic

The Ontario Court of Justice has announced that it will be establishing procedures "to reduce the number of people who attend court," per a statement released Sunday.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
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The Ontario Court of Justice has announced that it will be establishing procedures "to reduce the number of people who attend court," per a statement released Sunday.

It states that the Courts will be following the recommendations from public health officials regarding the reduction of large crowds, or crowded spaces and events, to help curb out the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which at time of writing has spread to over 115 countries.

"The Ontario Court of Justice is committed to ensuring that those with urgent matters continue to have meaningful access to the court," the statement reassured.

The statement goes on to say that as of March 16, those who were to appear in court on charges related to the Provincial Offences Act, family, or criminal court, do not need to attend court, "unless the matter is an in-custody or urgent criminal matter or an urgent family matter."

Similar precautions have already been rolled out in states such as Alabama, which has suspended most of their Supreme Court hearings, and in New Jersey. The United States Supreme Court has also suspended oral arguments.

Ontario reassures that criminal courts will remain open, and that "the court is committed to ensuring that, wherever possible, criminal matters involving accused persons who are in custody (including bail matters) that are ready to proceed, are able to proceed."

However, if you are not in custody and have a criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice between Monday March 16 and Friday April 3, you do not need to attend court.

Family courts will also remain open.

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