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Ottawa, May 27 (Canadian-Media): The second virtual meeting of the Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19, co-chaired by Chief Justice Wagner and Minister Lametti, was held by teleconference on Friday, May 22, media reports said.
Federal Court of Canada. Image credit: Twitter handle
The meeting focused on Action Committee’s priorities in offering national guidance to chief justices, judges and courts administration officials with gradual resumption of court operations across Canada.
“As we all continue to navigate this period of uncertainty, ...we must keep in mind is that the success of our justice system...depends on public confidence and trust...we cannot simply view our response to COVID-19 as temporary measures to bridge us back to “normal” – they must be seen as opening the door to imagining a new normal, ” said Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada and Chairperson, Canadian Judicial Council
With input from judicial, government, and public health and workplace safety the Action Committee has approved and released the Committee’s terms of reference, core principles and perspectives to be considered for court operations and initial orienting principles on safe and accessible courts in response to COVID-19 .
The Action Committee also identified its key priorities going forward, agreeing that the immediate focus for forthcoming national guidance would be on challenges of jury trials and hearings in small court rooms, circuit and remote courts.
Guidelines prepared by the Action Committee will help support appropriate provincial and judicial decision-makers with the best available information adapted to the individual circumstances of their courts while at the same time respecting the responsibility of provinces and territories for the administration of justice in their jurisdictions.
The Action Committee, established by the Chief Justice of Canada and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, provides national leadership to support the work of provincial and territorial governments, individual courts, and court administrators restoring the full operation of Canada’s courts while ensuring the safety of court users and staff.
“The timely, quick and safe restoration of court operations as we emerge from the pandemic is essential to Canadians...my hope is that it will also serve as an opportunity to promote reform and renewal in the justice system,” David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.