On January 20, 2015, the annual town hall meeting for the family law section was held at the Calgary Courthouse. This is a very informative and helpful event that is well attended by the judiciary, family bar and court staff. Some key points from the meeting are as follows:
  • Currently the earliest available date to book a half day Domestic Special is the week after Stampede 2015;
  • There has been an 96.5% increase in self represented litigants from the period of 2006 to 2013;
  • The province has approved 11 new Justices and 6 Masters but this has not yet been approved by the Federal Government;
  • Courthouse Security advises to be aware of “tailgaters”, those who follow behind you through the fast track security line;
  • Family Law Practice Note #2 will be amend the rules for letters to a 5 page limit instead of 4, but warns that more than 10 pages will not be accepted. This amendments is anticipated to be approved by the end of May;
  • The current turnaround time for divorce packages submitted to the Courthouse is 8 weeks;
  • Calgary Legal Guidance, PBLA’s Volunteer Lawyer Services and the Dial-a-Lawyer event for Alberta Law Day are currently looking for lawyer volunteers;
  • An online PASS course is being developed which will initially only be available to individuals in remote areas. The Practice Notes will be amended to accommodate this;
  • There are currently no available JDR dates until July 2015 and the committee is looking into assisting the scheduling issues that arise with booking January dates, a month after the available dates for the upcoming year are released; and
  • The Alberta Courts website has discontinued access to court judgments available online and refers us to Canlii for this service.