Unprecedented Times: The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Federal Courts

AuthorAmélie Lavictoire & Lise Lafrenière Henrie
ProfessionExecutive Director and General Counsel, Federal Court of Appeal/Executive Director and General Counsel, Federal Court
[  ]
Unprecedented Times: The COVID-19
Pandemic and the Federal Courts
     the f‌iftieth anniversary of the Federal Courts was
marked by the COVID- pandemic. e preparation of this book was not
spared from the impact of the pandemic. Although work on this book was
well underway when the pandemic struck Canada in March , the writ-
ing and editing process was completed over the course of this public health
emergency. A perceptive reader will have noticed that this book contains no
ocial group photos of the members of the Federal Court of Appeal or Fed-
eral Court, as we would expect to f‌ind in a book celebrating such a milestone.
is omission is a ref‌lection of the inability of judges and prothonotaries to
gather together and, as such, is indicative of the times in which this book
was prepared.
Given the signif‌icance of the pandemic, its impact on the courts and
their operations, and the eect that it is likely to have on the courts of the
future, a brief discussion at the close of this book was deemed appropriate.
e creation of the Federal Courts was premised, in part, on the notion
that the courts should be close to the public they serve and should bring jus-
tice to Canadians. Geographic proximity and, by extension, travel are intrin-
sically tied to the raison d’être of the Federal Courts. e travel restrictions
imposed at the outset of the COVID- pandemic and the various public
health measures that ensued dramatically aected the operations of these
itinerant courts. Canadians were asked to work from home if able to do so.
Judges and prothonotaries could no longer travel. In-person hearings were
suspended and registry oces across the country were closed. Despite this

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