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Notice to the Profession & Public - Mandatory Early Intervention Case Conference Pilot Project
- The Court has approved a pilot project for mandatory early intervention case conferences (EICC’s) in family law matters. The purpose of this Notice is to request feedback from the Family Law Bar on the proposed project. It is proposed that the project begin on September 1, 2017.
- The goals in implementing this pilot project include reducing interlocutory applications (including special chambers applications), reducing the number of files that require case management, creating a culture of resolution and, for those matters that must go to trial, ensuring that they get to trial within a reasonable period of time.
- Files will be diverted into the project from those files in regular family chambers that are being adjourned to special family chambers. Except for a short period prior to September 1, 2017 as explained below, this would not include matters that have already been scheduled for special family chambers prior to September 1, 2017.
- In the interests of achieving consistency, there will be a roster of 8 Justices in Edmonton and 8 Justices in Calgary who will be responsible for selecting files for diversion into the project and for conducting the EICC’s. There will be training for the Justices on the rosters and for those Justices in Red Deer and Lethbridge who will be participating in the project.
- The EICC pilot project will run for a period of 1 year beginning on September 1, 2017, only in the judicial centres of Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat. In Edmonton and Calgary, 4 matters per week will be referred to the EICC pilot project fromregular family chambers where those matters are proceeding to special family chambers and the Justice in regular chambers determines that it is an appropriate matter to be referred to a mandatory EICC. In Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, each centre will determine how many matters will be referred to the EICC pilot project from regular family chambers based upon the same criteria.
- As the target date for implementation of the pilot project is September 1, 2017, it will be necessary for the EICC’s scheduled for September of 2017 to be selected from regular chambers in June, July, or August of 2017.
- When a matter is directed to a mandatory EICC in regular chambers, the litigants will be provided with a letter setting out their scheduled EICC date (targeted to be within about 4 to 6 weeks) along with the EICC Summary form to be completed by both litigants. The letter will confirm the requirement that the EICC Summary form must be provided to the opposing party and to the Court 10 days prior to the scheduled EICC, with itemized consequences for failure to do so.
- As disclosure is an integral part of the process, it will be necessary for the applicable disclosure to have been exchanged by the parties prior to the completion and exchange of the EICC Summaries in order to enable meaningful settlement discussions at the EICC.
- EICC’s will take place in a courtroom and the parties must be present. The EICC will have two components to it – a procedural component, for which an Order may be made - and a settlement discussions component, which will be without prejudice. The EICC will be held “in camera”. A report will be completed by the EICC Justice and provided to the parties following the EICC. In addition, Counsel will be asked to prepare any procedural order arising from the EICC. Where neither party has counsel, use will be made of the Court Generated Orders Clerks to prepare any procedural order arising from the EICC.
- The EICC’s will take place on one day each week, will be one hour in length, and will be scheduled at 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm.
- This pilot project will not interfere with the current scheduling of half hour case
conferences pursuant to Rule 4.10. These will continue to be directed in regular chambers where appropriate but will not be part of the EICC pilot project. Those shorter case conferences will not be scheduled into the time slots reserved for the EICC’s.
- All matters scheduled for Special Chambers, which are not resolved in, or as a result of, the EICC process, will continue to be heard as scheduled.
- The proposed date for implementation of this pilot project is September 1, 2017. Input is requested from the Family Law Bar on this proposed pilot project and may be provided to Anderson, J or Yungwirth, J by not later than January 15, 2017 by letter or email to EICC.QBCalgary@albertacourts.ca or EICC.QBEdmonton@albertacourts.ca.