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Manitoba returning circuit courts to far-off communities

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 @ 3:22 PM | By Terry Davidson

Manitoba’s provincial court is restarting a number of its circuit courts serving those in rural and remote areas.

Over this second half of the summer, circuit courts in communities such as Cross Lake, Poplar River, Nelson House, St. Martin and Gods Lake Narrows will resume following disruptions in their operations due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The courts will rely heavily on virtual communications during their operations.  

On Aug. 9 and 23, the docket in Cross Lake will be heard virtually with all parties appearing remotely. (Cross Lake also did this on July 26.) A notice states that trials will proceed as scheduled. A maximum of five in-person or remote depositions can appear on the docket each of those days, a spokesperson confirmed.

And on Aug. 16, child protection and family court dockets will be heard virtually in the city of Thompson, with all parties appearing remotely.

On Aug. 9, the circuit court in Poplar River, home to Poplar River First Nations, will proceed “virtually from Winnipeg.” Again, all those involved may appear remotely.

“We anticipate being able to return to sitting in Poplar River in October but this will be subject to a later notice after further consultation with the community’s leadership,” states the notice.

Judicial justices of the peace (JJP) dockets in Nelson House, home to the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, will be heard virtually in Thompson on Aug. 18. The plan is for the circuit court to return sitting in Nelson House in August, but, like Poplar River, this will depend on “further consultation with the community’s leadership.”

“If we are able to return to the community we anticipate hearing the following: August 25, 2021 The docket will proceed virtually in Nelson House,” the notice states. “All parties may appear remotely. The trials will proceed as scheduled in Nelson House. A maximum of five dispositions can proceed in person or remotely on this date.”

On Aug. 17, the docket in God’s Lake will be heard virtually and all parties may appear remotely. Trials will proceed as scheduled and there will be a maximum of five in-person or remote depositions scheduled on that date.

The list of circuit courts and further details can be found in the notice.

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