VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s Supreme and provincial courts are postponing in-person trials this week as they work with public health officials to update their COVID-19 safety policies.

The courts say in a written statement that all in-person civil and family matters scheduled between Jan. 4 and Jan. 7 will be postponed due to “the rapid and concerning recent increase in COVID-19 in the province,” but all virtual proceedings will continue as planned.

The Supreme Court is asking all lawyers and accused people with scheduled appearances this week to phone the court at the time of their proceeding to arrange a new date.

It says criminal trials and preliminary inquiries for those already in custody will remain on the schedule with judges deciding if they should go ahead on the date of the proceedings.

It says legal proceedings for those not in custody will be postponed automatically.

The provincial court says it will be contacting people scheduled to appear this week in small claims or family court to reschedule, but all virtual sessions conducted over video conferencing will continue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2022.

The Canadian Press