FREDERICTON (GNB) – Following recommendations from federal and provincial health officials, the Court of Queen’s Bench will immediately adjourn all scheduled jury trials until May 12.

“The Chief Justice has made this decision in the interest of public health following consultations with the province’s chief medical officer of health,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason. “The government supports this decision as we believe this step supports the goal of slowing or preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

The recommendation of health officials is to practise social distancing and to be cautious when in public spaces or attending public events.

Anderson-Mason said continuing with jury trials could have put New Brunswickers in a difficult position if they were forced to decide between protecting their health and fulfilling their legal obligation if summoned for jury duty. This decision will ensure no one is put in such a position.

Sheriffs are contacting prospective jurors already summonsed for trials to advise them they are not required to attend.

The Department of Justice and Office of the Attorney General will continue to work closely with members of the judiciary and other case parties to adjust to these exceptional circumstances, while ensuring important files move forward in a timely manner, said Anderson-Mason.