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The Court Of King’s Bench Of Alberta Updates: Arbitration Resolution Chambers

The Court of King’s Bench of Alberta Updates: Arbitration Resolution Chambers

The Court of King’s Bench of Alberta has recently announced two changes which will have an immediate and significant impact on Alberta families and the resolution of their family law disputes.

The first announcement was that effective September 3, 2024, the Court will no longer hear matters in Family Docket Court in Calgary and Edmonton. Second, and more recently, the Court announced on June 6, 2024, that its Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) program was indefinitely suspended (save and except for limited actions identified by the Court that are scheduled for trial). The loss of these Court processes will reduce the options available to parties and counsel who are seeking to reduce conflict, narrow their disputed issues and participate in an alternative dispute resolution process. Furthermore, despite the suspension of the Family Docket Court and the JDR program, the Alberta Rules of Court still require that parties complete an alternate dispute resolution process before trial under Rules 8.4(3)(a) and 4.16. Aside from the availability of Resolution Counsel (a recourse that not all litigants will qualify for), the practical effect of these changes is that litigants will now be required to pay for private mediation or, where circumstances warrant, apply to the Court to waive the requirement to attend at an alternative dispute resolution process.

We expect that the recent changes out of the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta will result in delays in obtaining a Chambers date to determine interim applications. At Jones Divorce Law LLP, we understand that litigants cannot wait months for a resolution of their interim dispute(s). This is particularly the case for those disputes which can and need to be resolved without unnecessary delays and expense, such as travel applications, interim support or parenting applications and other applications that would otherwise be determined in a Chambers Hearing.

To assist litigants in obtaining and having their matter heard in a forum that results in a binding outcome similar to a Chambers application, Jones Divorce Law LLP is pleased to offer “Arbitration Resolution Chambers”,through a number of qualified and experienced lawyers at our office. The Arbitration Resolution Chambers is designed to act as an accelerated arbitration Hearing on the issue(s) of interim parenting, support or property, via a 1-hour or half-day hearing, to be conducted in-person or through video-conferencing. The parties will receive an abridged decision from the Arbitrator, akin to the type of decision that would be given from the Bench if the matter had proceeded through the Family Law Chambers process at the Court of King’s Bench.

To find out more about our Arbitration Resolution Chambers and whether this would be of assistance in your matter, please reach out to our Arbitration Resolution Chambers Coordinator. Any of the following lawyers in our office who would be pleased to provide this service:

  • Lindsay Ewens-Jones, K.C.
  • Dereck Jones
  • Krysta Ostwald, K.C.
  • Ainsley Vieira
  • Jill Crockett

At Jones Divorce Law, we know family law. Choose experts in family law to make decisions impacting the most important decisions in your lives.