August 25, 2020
Resumption of Jury Trials
As part of the COVID-19 resumption plan, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta is resuming jury selection and jury trials. To ensure the safety of everyone involved, jury selection and some jury trials will be held in off-site locations. Most courtrooms and deliberation rooms are designed to hold 12 jurors and do not have room to ensure the physical distance of all parties. 

The ministry will be using a variety of locations across Alberta. The Alberta Education Provincial Writing Centre in Edmonton and the Calgary Stampede Grandstand will be used.

To learn more about the resumption of jury trials, please read the letter from the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General and the Court of Queen's Bench website.
Amendments to Schedule C of the Alberta Rules of Court
On March 17, 2020, the government amended the Alberta Rules of Court, including but not limited to the Tariff of Recoverable Fees in Division 2 of Schedule C. The amendments to the tariff are effective May 1, 2020. The new tariff applies, subject to an agreement or Court order to the contrary, to all assessable items, whether the activity described in the item happened before or after May 1, 2020.  

For the purpose of evaluating a formal offer under Rule 4.29, costs must be calculated under the Schedule C as it existed on the date when the offer was made. Unless the Court orders otherwise, matters that have no monetary amounts, such as injunctions, will continue to be dealt with under Column 1. Costs in relation to residential tenancies are not dealt with under any of the columns and are still in the discretion of the Court. For Queen’s Bench actions seeking monetary amounts within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court, Rule 10.42 will continue to apply and will limit cost recovery.

For more details, visit the Law Society website.
2020 Viscount Bennett Scholarship Recipient Announced
The Law Society of Alberta is pleased to congratulate Eric Wiebe, this year’s recipient of the Viscount Bennett Scholarship. 

Eric completed his undergraduate degree at McGill University, earning a Bachelor of Arts with honours in Economics and Canadian Studies. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill’s Faculty of Law in December 2018. 

After articling with Burnett, Duckworth & Palmer LLP, Eric was called to the Alberta Bar in May 2020 and secured a position with the firm as an associate. 

During his time at McGill, Eric was also the managing editor of the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law, allowing him to further develop a keen interest in the intersection between corporate, energy and environmental law.
Court of Queen’s Bench Online Hearing Guidelines
During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta prepares for post-pandemic operations, a number of proceedings will continue to be conducted via Cisco WebEx Meeting online videoconference (Online Hearings).

All policies with respect to the use of recording equipment in courtrooms apply to Online Hearings. Recording, live streaming or broadcasting the video or audio of any Online Hearing by Counsel, parties, witnesses, any member of the public or the media is strictly prohibited.

Online Hearings are governed by the same set of expectations and rules as in-person hearings. Counsel, parties, members of the media, and others who participate in Online Hearings are expected to conduct themselves as though they are physically appearing in a courtroom. In addition, Counsel, parties, witnesses, the media and the public are expected to review and comply with the general guidelines found on the Court of Queen's Bench website.
Update to Bar Admission Attendance
In conjunction with the new measures implemented in Stage 2 of the Resumption Plan, the Provincial Court of Alberta is accepting attendance at Bar Admission ceremonies to the maximum number of participants currently permitted in each courtroom to allow for social distance measures. Participants are requested to wear masks while in the courthouse.

Ceremonies will be scheduled during court hours, with priority given to urgent court proceedings. More details can be found on the Provincial Court website.