FamilyCounsel.ca

Proposals

These proposals let family law lawyers discuss and vote on what changes they think should be made to the law or court procedures. The results can be viewed and shared with legislators and the Courts. The proposals put forth are written by member lawyers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or its administrators. You can view more proposals or make a proposal yourself.


Proposal: Alberta should have a Unified Family Court
Court Procedure - Jan 10th

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)2 Comments

The 2018 Federal Budget included funding for 17 judges to create a Unified Family Court in Alberta. At that time, UFCs had already been established in Manitoba, New Brunswick, PEI, parts of Saskatchewan, and parts of Ontario.

The Unified Family Court would be a one-stop-shop, essentially consolidating the Provincial Court and Court of King's Bench Family Divisions. The idea in a nutshell is that there would be dedicated judges to the area of family law (i.e. with expertise in family law), that court would be in a better position to design it's processes around family law, that court's management would be focused on family law issues, legal education wouldn't have to address two systems and as a result self-represented litigants wouldn't be confused about the two systems.

There was a judicial working group that had built a lot of momentum towards a UFC, however the proposal was shot down by the provincial government. My understanding is that at the time oil had plummeted, and the government decided that there were insufficient resources to implement the change (even though the feds would have been paying for the judges), and too much on their plate to devote the time to changing legislation to update this change. Alberta is in a much different economic climate now, and with the formation of AFLA, we're looking to reignite the flame to make this change happen.

There's a 2014 article by JP Boyd, KC on LawNow which further elaborates some of the benefits of a Unified Family Court: https://www.lawnow.org/unified-family-court-justice-strategy-alberta/

100% in favour out of 29 votes


Proposal: Courts should be able to order Parenting Coordination in at least some circumstances
Parenting (lawyers only) - Nov 23, 2022

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)1 Comment
This year AFCC has put a lot of effort into an important review of Parenting Coordination. Earlier in the year they sought feedback on a variety of issues relating to Parenting Coordination. I thought I'd bring up this potential change in particular to gauge support within the legal community.

Courts already order parents to attend counselling and mediation, which is generally in the children's best interests. Dispensing with a parent's consent to meet with a psychologist or lawyer Parenting Coordinator isn't a significant hurdle from a legal perspective. The issue has been that courts have been unable to delegate their decision-making authority absent contract or explicit legislation. I believe AFCC is already hard at work addressing educational/experience requirements and better defining the rules around Parenting Coordination.

Subsidizing Parenting Coordination for lower income families and psychologists' professional obligations and regulation are separate issues, for now I'm just asking the legal profession if we'd support either some or all decisions being delegated to Parenting Coordinators without parental consent.

The procedural fairness afforded by courts might debatably be appropriate for critical issues such as the basic parenting arrangement or relocation (although I have my doubts), perhaps appeals should still be allowed (albeit with a high degree of deference), and perhaps in some scenarios it might be appropriate to have lawyer assistance during the process where there's a power imbalance or client not willing to speak up for themselves. However, I can't see any reason why the court is more suitable to decide ongoing parenting issues than a specially trained and experienced Parenting Coordinator. Parenting Coordination generally leads to to more appropriate outcomes, at a lower cost, and quicker so that they don't have to continuously be at war. That way, more parents can also access professional assistance to resolve their disputes, and obtain justice.

There was an interesting article out of Ontario yesterday in the Lawyer's Daily which discusses a child-centered approach to delegating decision-making to Parenting Coordinators: https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/business/ ...
86% in favour out of 14 votes


Proposal: Continue to backdate email filing
Court Procedure - Oct 8, 2022

Anonymous6 Comments

A new announcement states that effective November 1st KB will no longer backdate filing, even when they reject or are slow to file.

It sounds like in several municipalities there isn't much faith that the Clerks will be able to file immediately by November 1st, or even the same day, and my understanding is that court runners are still being blocked.

If they're going to end backdating, they could at least wait until the Clerks have demonstrated the ability to keep up over a long enough period, or once court runners are permitted to file again, so that we can receive immediate feedback. Does anyone know how quickly they've been filing civil documents on the e-filing website?

If they're concerned with the number of rejections, perhaps they'd be better served by centralizing filing rules and imposing only necessary rules, rather than law by plethora of announcements and whim? How many well-being seminars and conferences do we need before the Court considers the undue stress that they're putting on lawyers and litigants?

100% in favour out of 30 votes


Proposal: Start an "Alberta Family Lawyers Advocacy Association"
Other - Aug 24, 2022

Wayne Barkauskas, K.C. of Wise Scheible Barkauskas (Alberta)8 Comments

You will note that the "Criminal Defense Lawyers Association" is very specific and exclusive. It allows them to advocate loudly for their unique interests without jeopardizing other advocacy efforts on other matters (unlike the CBA Criminal Law Section).

Following this lead would mean that the private Family Law Bar (it would have to exclude government lawyers) may wish to set up a similar organization who's purpose is to advocate on behalf of the family bar. It could be that the time has come...

100% in favour out of 25 votes


Proposal: QB Justices need training in family law
Court Procedure - Mar 30, 2022

Anonymous13 Comments

There should be a separate section of QB where the Justices deal only with family law matters, similar to PC. Otherwise, all QB Justices should be given extensive family law training before they're allowed to handle family law cases.

100% in favour out of 32 votes


Proposal: Case Management works well
Court Procedure - Jan 26, 2022

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)7 Comments

This time the QB Family Law Consulting Committee is seeking feedback regarding file management at the Court. They're looking for both criticism and praise of what does work well, and any suggestions about how to improve the process. I will pass along your feedback, or you're welcome to provide feedback directly to Teri Burant at tburant@emeryjamieson.com or 780-970-6291. Please provide feedback by February 2, 2022.

71% in favour out of 7 votes


Proposal: QB Pre-trial Conferences work well
Court Procedure - Jan 26, 2022

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)0 Comments

This time the QB Family Law Consulting Committee is seeking feedback regarding file management at the Court. They're looking for both criticism and praise of what does work well, and any suggestions about how to improve the process. I will pass along your feedback, or you're welcome to provide feedback directly to Teri Burant at tburant@emeryjamieson.com or 780-970-6291. Please provide feedback by February 2, 2022.

80% in favour out of 5 votes


Proposal: Rule 4.10 Case Conferences work well
Court Procedure - Jan 26, 2022

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)0 Comments

This time the QB Family Law Consulting Committee is seeking feedback regarding file management at the Court. They're looking for both criticism and praise of what does work well, and any suggestions about how to improve the process. I will pass along your feedback, or you're welcome to provide feedback directly to Teri Burant at tburant@emeryjamieson.com or 780-970-6291. Please provide feedback by February 2, 2022.

50% in favour out of 2 votes


Proposal: Subsidise mediation and arbitration
ADR - Jan 23, 2022

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)1 Comment

In England, couples can use £500 vouchers for mediation ($851 CAD). I imagine that has to be a lot less expensive than paying for additional judges, clerks, and security.

92% in favour out of 13 votes


Proposal: Special Chambers is working well
Court Procedure - Dec 22, 2021

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)4 Comments

This time the QB Family Law Consulting Committee is seeking feedback regarding chambers. They're looking for both criticism and praise of what does work well, and any suggestions about how to improve the process. I will pass along your feedback, or you're welcome to provide feedback directly to Teri Burant at tburant@emeryjamieson.com or 780-970-6291. Please provide feedback by January 18, 2022.

60% in favour out of 10 votes













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