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Proposals - Court Procedure

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: Introduce a mandatory "meet and confer" requirement
Court Procedure - Aug 20th

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)0 Comments

One of the justifications for Docket is that each side often fails to communicate prior to court. In many US States they compel settlement meetings, at the outset and/or before each court application. There would be additional rules to address family violence.

From Thomson Reuters: "In many courts, the parties must meet at the outset of a case to discuss various matters, including: a) The nature and basis of the parties' claims and defenses; b) The possibility of settling or resolving the case; and c) Discovery issues, including:
the preservation of discoverable information; and
a discovery plan. A meet and confer often saves the parties time and money by resolving issues, including how they will conduct discovery, early in the case. Most courts also require parties to meet and confer before making discovery and other motions in an attempt for parties to resolve their disputes without the need for judicial intervention."

94% in favour out of 31 votes

Proposal: Family Docket Court should be disbanded.
Court Procedure - Aug 19th

Anonymous5 Comments

Morning Chambers was always a place where you could get procedural direction, but it was also a place where substantive but basic matters could be dealt with too. Now we have Docket, and Docket Bypass, and I just don't see the point.

52% in favour out of 31 votes

Proposal: Concise letter filing deadlines should be a couple of weeks before the hearing, not following the triggering date
Court Procedure - Aug 15th

Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Alberta)3 Comments

It used to be that filing deadlines ran backwards from the special chambers hearing, rather than running from the triggering date when special chambers is booked. Back then, we were able to push clients to negotiate by pointing to all of the money that they'd have to spend on us if they didn't reach a resolution. Now litigants tend to be so focused on meeting deadlines and drafting that there seems to be less negotiation during the first couple of months, and then once there's some breathing room, they've spent so much on lawyers that they seem to be more likely to want to see the decision (a sunk costs fallacy).

I understand the rationale of wanting all of the facts on the table so that lawyers can provide proper opinions to their clients, and wanting to decrease adjournments caused by late filing, but delaying the concise letter deadline, and calling them briefs again, would help to promote settlement by creating a cost which clients can avoid if they cooperate. It's also less costly to prepare the concise letter closer to the hearing, because it minimizes the number of times that we have to go through all of the materials and decisions.

96% in favour out of 26 votes

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