Supreme Court of Canada: Special COVID-19 update

30 March 2020


With everyone practicing social distancing or self-isolation to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the Supreme Court of Canada has closed the Court building to visitors and established special temporary filing directions.

The key points to note in the Court's direction are as follows:

  • Deadlines that are imposed by the Rules are suspended until further notice.
  • Deadlines that are imposed by an order of the Court, a judge or the Registrar are suspended until further notice.
  • Deadlines that are imposed by the Supreme Court Act (and other statutes) are not suspended. This includes the deadline for filing notices of appeal and of application for leave to appeal, which are set out in section 58 of the Act. If circumstances related to COVID-19 prevent timely service and filing of an application for leave to appeal, the Court will not require a motion for an extension of time. Instead, applicants may include a request for an extension of time in Part V of the application for leave to appeal.
  • For deadlines that are suspended by the Rules, the Court is allowing parties to serve and file if possible. Service and filing are to be done by email. For deadlines that expired prior to March 25, parties need not bring a motion for an extension of time. The parties can simply include a request for an extension in their materials.
  • The Court is not accepting paper filings. The Registrar will issue a directive as to the filing of paper copies once the Supreme Court Building is fully re-opened.
  • The cases previously scheduled for hearing in March, April and May are adjourned, tentatively, to the month of June 2020.

What is suspended and what isn't?

The following chart lists the most common documents that are filed in Court proceedings and indicates whether the filing deadline for that document is suspended:

Document Deadline imposed by Suspended?

Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal

Sections 40 and 58(1)(a) of the Act

NO

Notice of Appeal (with leave or as of right)

Section 58(1)(b) of the Act

NO

Response to Application for Leave to Appeal

Rule 27

YES, but email filing is permitted

Reply on an Application for Leave to Appeal

Rule 28

YES, but email filing is permitted

Filing of Documents on Appeal (Appellant, Respondent, Intervener)

Rules 35, 36, and 37

YES, but email filing is permitted

Motion for Leave to Intervene

Rule 56

YES, but email filing is permitted

Supreme Court of Canada COVID-19 update: End of the suspension period.

Further Help

The Court has directed that any party with a case-related question or with concerns about the ability to meet a deadline imposed by statute should contact the Registry by email at registry-greffe@scc-csc.ca.

Gowling WLG's Supreme Court of Canada team of professionals is ready to assist with any SCC-related matter.


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