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Ministry of Justice

What Do I Do if I Can't Attend My Court Date?

In some criminal matters, you may be able to have an agent represent you in court.

In Supreme Court civil cases, if all parties agree, the matter can be adjourned to another date. To ask for an adjournment, submit the agreement in writing to the registrar, along with a requisition.

If your hearing is a chambers application in Supreme Court, it can be adjourned by consent. For more information, please contact the court registry where the application is to be heard.

Under the Provincial Court family Rules and the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act, a trial may be adjourned only as follows:

More than 45 days before the scheduled trial date:

  • by filing with the court registry a consent to the adjournment signed by all parties; or
  • if the parties cannot agree to the adjournment, on application brought by notice of motion to a judge under Rule 12 to explain why the adjournment is necessary. Within 45 days of the scheduled trial date:
  • by application brought by notice of motion to a judge under Rule 12 to explain why the adjournment is necessary.

In provincial small claims court civil cases, if you cannot attend on the set trial date, you can appear in court to ask the judge to postpone or adjourn your trial. Your application must be in writing and you have to serve the other party with it at least seven days before you ask the judge. Consent orders cannot be used to change a trial date, as only a judge may cancel, postpone or adjourn a trial and only after a hearing. Note that a defendant who begins an action in the Supreme Court against a claimant may apply to a Provincial Court judge for an order changing the date of the small claims trial.

Generally speaking, you should contact the trial co-ordinator at the court registry in which your case is to proceed and ask about your adjournment options. Have your file number and case name ready before contacting the trial co-ordinator.