As of August 31, 2020, the Court will offer litigants (counsel or parties) the choice of coming to Court for the hearing of their appeal or participating in the hearing via videoconference. The Court office will contact the parties or counsel concerned in order to inform them of the applicable arrangements for such purposes.
Please take note that a virtual hearing may not be appropriate for certain matters, in which case the Court office will also contact those concerned.
In principle, motions before a judge alone or before a panel will continue to be heard by videoconference, in a "virtual courtroom" setting. Litigants will therefore be able to present their motions from the location of their choice (home or office), without the need to travel. This approach, which complies with the social distancing requirements of the current health emergency, will be favoured and will, save for certain exceptions, make it possible to deal with motions that fall within the jurisdiction of the Court or one of its judges.
Upon receipt of a motion, the Court office will contact the parties or their counsel, as the case may be, in order to provide them with the necessary information.
Please take note that a virtual hearing may not be appropriate for certain motions, in which case the Court office will also contact those concerned.
As of August 31, 2020, the Court will use the software program Teams to hold hearings in a "virtual courtroom" setting. The virtual courtroom is easy to use and is secure. It also makes it possible to record discussions.
The email sent by the Court office confirming the date and time of the hearing will contain the necessary information for litigants to connect themselves, including the conference number and the link to connect directly to the virtual courtroom.
Litigants are asked to read the document entitled Technical Conditions and to contact the Court office for any questions they may have regarding the use of this platform.
The use of virtual courtrooms does not prevent the public from attending hearings, given that the open court principle subsists (subject to the exceptions that apply under normal circumstances). The rolls for the Court are posted on the Court's website, as usual, ( https://courdappelduquebec.ca/en/rolls/ ).
Members of the public (including journalists) can attend virtual hearings via audio. By emailing a request to the office of the Court in Montreal or Quebec City, depending on the hearing venue (Office of the Court in Quebec City: email@example.com; Office of the Court in Montreal: firstname.lastname@example.org), they will be able to receive the relevant information.
The physical presence of members of the public in courtrooms will be authorized only in compliance with the health guidelines in effect, including those governing the maximum capacity in courtrooms.
It should also be noted that the Guidelines Concerning the Use of Technological Devices in Courtrooms apply to virtual hearings, with the necessary modifications (Guidelines Concerning the Use of Technological Devices in Courtrooms). Thus, subject to the exceptions set out in said Guidelines, no participant is authorized to capture a screen shot, record the hearing or broadcast it by any means whatsoever.
In order to help counsel and parties prepare for and participate in the virtual hearings that the Court of Appeal is now holding, the Court has prepared a Guide to Best Practices that contains all the necessary information. Members of the public who want to know how to attend virtual hearings will also find the necessary information in the Guide.