Notice to the Profession and Public Regarding Jury Trials in Hamilton and Newmarket (November 13, 2020)


This notice has been superseded by Notice to the Profession and Public Regarding Court Proceedings (November 21, 2020)

On November 5, 2020 this Court announced that jury selection and new jury trials (which had been suspended in Newmarket as of October 16) would resume in Newmarket on November 16.

Unfortunately, the public health situation has deteriorated since that time in York Region and Hamilton.

As a result, new jury selection and new jury trials are suspended in Hamilton until at least November 30, 2020. Similarly, new jury selection and new jury trials will not resume on November 16 in Newmarket and will be suspended until at least November 30.

A further update will be provided no later than November 25, 2020.

Jury trials currently in progress can proceed, subject to the decision of the trial judge.

I recognize that some counsel, parties and justice participants may be uncomfortable attending a courthouse during this time. Some may have underlying health conditions, or live with someone who does, or have other issues arising from the pandemic.

In view of the public health situation in Hamilton and York Region, the Court must respond with great flexibility. I have encouraged all judicial officers, when exercising their authority, to be flexible and to respect the various reasons why an individual may not be comfortable attending a courthouse in person. The feasibility of a virtual hearing or alternate arrangements is to be explored, when requested. Similarly, I encourage counsel and parties to be accommodating when requests for virtual hearings or other arrangements are made by opposing counsel or parties.

This notice does not affect in-person non-jury matters which will continue to be heard.

We must continue to do what we can to move matters forward while supporting public health efforts to stabilize the situation.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Chief Justice
Ontario Superior Court of Justice