The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta is changing the way matters are assigned into case management. Given the current need to deploy our judicial resources in ways that reduce unacceptably long lead times to trial, requests for case management must be closely scrutinized to ensure that the appointment of a case management justice in a civil/family law matter is necessary to expedite resolution of matters by way of settlement or trial.
Effective October 1, 2019, Justices hearing Chambers applications will no longer refer matters to the Chief Justice or the Associate Chief Justice with a recommendation that the matter be placed under case management, unless case management is a requirement (for example, under Family Law Practice Note 8, civil jury trials and class action proceedings). Instead, Chambers Justices will direct parties seeking case management to request a Rule 4.10 Case Conference, in which the suitability of the matter for case management will be carefully assessed, along with the completion of a litigation plan and other alternative resolution processes. Following receipt of this direction from a Chambers Justice, counsel/parties may write to the Associate Chief Justice (ACJ Nielsen for Edmonton (including Hinton), Red Deer and Wetaskiwin and ACJ Rooke for Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Drumheller) or to Chief Justice Moreau for the other Regional Judicial Centres to request the assignment of a justice to conduct the case conference, supported by a proposed litigation plan. The Supervising Justices in Red Deer/Wetaskiwin and in Lethbridge/Medicine Hat may also direct matters to Rule 4.10 Case Conferences and assign matters into case management with resident Justices in those Judicial Centres.
Similarly, requests for case management, supported by a proposed litigation plan, made directly by parties or counsel to the Associate Chief Justice (ACJ Nielsen for Edmonton, Red Deer and Wetaskiwin and ACJ Rooke for Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Drumheller) or to Chief Justice Moreau for the other Regional Judicial Centres, will continue to be considered, but they may, at their discretion, order the parties to a Rule 4.10 Case Conference, where the suitability of the matter for case management will be assessed.