Yesterday, following a JDR with ACJ Holmstrom, I had posted some clarification on Provincial Court family matters in the Discuss section in response to an inquiry under the title of “Covid 19 – Provincial Court." For ease, so that everything is in one place, I have posted it below, along with some slight revisions and new updates that ACJ Holmstrom has forwarded to be shared with the family bar on this website:
1. Any FLA docket matters booked between March 18 to May 22, 2020, will automatically be adjourned ten weeks from their currently scheduled date. ACJ Holmstrom requested that counsel with self represented opposing parties please connect with those parties to inform them of this adjournment, if possible.
2. FLA docket will remain open on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoon for emergencies and to triage matters (for example, where there is no counsel on files and self represented parties show up). Files on the list will still be pulled daily and put into docket – so if your matter is urgent, you can still show up on that day. If the matter is not urgent, you do not need to attend to adjourn your matter ten weeks – it will be adjourned automatically by the clerk. The Court does not want counsel or parties showing up if the matter is not urgent.
3. FLA trials will not proceed during these ten weeks and they are currently working on a rescheduling process. Stay tuned; there should be an update on this point tomorrow.
4. At this time, child protection docket and trials scheduled in these ten weeks will remain scheduled on their currently set date and in their set courtrooms. Counsel should attend at the scheduled courtroom to determine next steps. This may change, so please check the website regularly. Denise Harwardt is requesting that counsel on child protection matters contact all counsel on the file in advance of the docket or first trial date to discuss agreed upon adjournments, if possible.
5. Child protection docket will remain open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. All currently scheduled matters will be on the list unless a consent adjournment is sent to the clerks in advance via fax. To limit the people in the courtroom, the preferred method is to adjourn via letter or to send one person as agent to speak to the adjournment.
6. JDRs: Stay tuned; there should be an update on this point tomorrow.
7. Counsel can send in consent adjournment requests to put matters over to specific docket dates (rather than the general ten-week rule) via fax at 780-427-5797.
8. Consent orders signed by all counsel or accompanied by an affidavit of execution where there is a self-represented party can be sent to the clerks at Edmpc.Familyorders@csadm.just.gov.ab.ca to be reviewed by a duty judge as a desk order. This email address will be monitored daily and orders will be emailed back to counsel once signed.
9. All docket matters, JDRs, and trials scheduled on May 25, 2020, or later will currently remain scheduled on those dates.
10. At this time, family court counsellors are still continuing to meet with clients via telephone.
I have been told that we should expect a further update tomorrow, which I will post upon receipt from the Court. As the above will continue to change with the rapidly changing situation related to COVID-19, our office will continue to update this post should we receive anything further from the Provincial Court. However, it is likely that we will not receive all of the information, so please continue to also keep yourself updated on the Alberta Court’s website: https://albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/announcements.