The Provincial Court and Supreme Court have released four new practice directions in relation to criminal matters. The Provincial Court directions relate to the rollout of virtual bail province-wide by October 16, following the Vancouver Coastal region transition on September 18. The Supreme Court directions relate to the conduct of s. 525 hearings as well as methods of appearance by counsel and accused persons.
PROVINCIAL COURT: VIRTUAL BAIL
Virtual Bail was introduced to the Vancouver Coastal region (North Vancouver, Richmond, Sechelt, Vancouver) on September 18, 2023, and will expand to the Fraser region (Surrey, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Chilliwack) on October 16, 2023. LABC has worked diligently to ensure that all duty and defence counsel are aware of the change and able to access training materials. These materials are accessible through the lawyer portal as well as the Microsoft Teams channel.
Read the new practice direction here.
Read the practice direction regarding submitting documents for bail and sentencing hearings here.
BC SUPREME: AMENDMENTS TO CRIMINAL PRACTICE DIRECTION 4 (CPD-4) – PROCEDURE FOR DETENTION REVIEWS UNDER S. 525 OF THE CRIMINAL CODE
Amendments have been made to CPD-4, which take effect immediately. Please review the revised version on the Supreme Court of BC website by clicking here. CPD-4 and the related forms are available on the Criminal Practice Direction page and on the Scheduling page of the website. Amendments of note include:
· A new process for applying to end the s. 525 detention review process due to ineligibility, including a new application form for submission by counsel;
· A 45-day time limit on the use of the Adjournment Form to adjourn the Scheduling Hearing before counsel must speak to the matter in court; and
· A new process, including a form, to expedite the transcript ordering process at the Scheduling Hearing.
BC SUPREME: CRIMINAL PRACTICE DIRECTION 6 (CPD-6) – APPEARANCES BY COUNSEL AND ACCUSED PERSONS IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
Criminal Practice Direction 6 took effect on September 5, 2023. Please review CPD-6 on the Supreme Court of BC website by clicking here, or by visiting the Criminal Practice Direction page. CPD-6 sets out the default methods of appearance in criminal proceedings for counsel and accused persons. CPD-6 also provides instructions for requesting a method of appearance other than the default method. As of September 5, 2023, COVID-19 Notice No. 51 (Method of Attendance for Criminal Proceedings) and COVID-19 Notice No. 30 (Applications under s. 490 of the Criminal Code (Further Detention of Things Seized) During the Pandemic) have been rescinded.
CPD-4 and CPD-6 will be translated into French.