The Court has approved a pilot project for mandatory early intervention case conferences (EICC’s) in family law matters.

The Goal of the Project

The goals in implementing this pilot project include reducing interlocutory applications (including special chambers applications), reducing the number of files that require case management, creating a culture of resolution and, for those matters that must go to trial, ensuring that they get to trial within a reasonable period of time.

Files will be diverted into the project from those files in regular family chambers that are being adjourned to special family chambers.

The EICC pilot project will run for a period of 1 year beginning on September 1, 2017, only in the judicial centres of Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat. In Edmonton and Calgary, four matters per week will be referred to the EICC pilot project from regular family chambers where those matters are proceeding to special family chambers and the Justice in regular chambers determines that it is an appropriate matter to be referred to a mandatory EICC. In Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, each centre will determine how many matters will be referred to the EICC pilot project from regular family chambers based upon the same criteria.

Instructions for Matters Diverted into the Project

When a matter is directed to a mandatory EICC in regular chambers, the litigants will be provided with a letter setting out their scheduled EICC date (targeted to be within about 4 to 6 weeks) along with the EICC Summary form to be completed by both litigants. The letter will confirm the requirement that the EICC Summary form must be provided to the opposing party and to the Court 7 days prior to the scheduled EICC, with itemized consequences for failure to do so. Links to the form and the template order are provided below:

Early Intervention Case Conference Summary Form
Template Order - Mandatory Early Intervention Case Conference

As disclosure is an integral part of the process, it will be necessary for the applicable disclosure to have been exchanged by the parties prior to the completion and exchange of the EICC Summaries in order to enable meaningful settlement discussions at the EICC.

EICC’s will take place in a courtroom and the parties must be present. The EICC will have two components to it – a procedural component, for which an Order may be made - and a settlement discussions component, which will be without prejudice. The EICC will be held “in camera”. A report will be completed by the EICC Justice and provided to the parties following the EICC. In addition, Counsel will be asked to prepare any procedural order arising from the EICC. Where neither party has counsel, use will be made of the Court Generated Orders Clerks to prepare any procedural order arising from the EICC.

This pilot project will not interfere with the current scheduling of half hour case conferences pursuant to Rule 4.10. These will continue to be directed in regular chambers where appropriate but will not be part of the EICC pilot project. Those shorter case conferences will not be scheduled into the time slots reserved for the EICC’s.

All matters scheduled for Special Chambers, which are not resolved in, or as a result of, the EICC process, will continue to be heard as scheduled.

Requests for Early Intervention Case Conferences

Commencing September 1, 2018, the Court will be conducting six EICCs each week. Two of the six EICCs each week will be referred based on written request. That request may be made by completing the form entitled "Request for an Early Intervention Case Conference (EICC) In a Family Proceeding" In a Family Proceeding”, and providing it to the Case Conference Coordinator in the applicable city:

Calgary: CaseConferenceCoordinator.QBCalgary@albertacourts.ca
Edmonton: CaseConferenceCoordinator.QBEdmonton@albertacourts.ca
Red Deer: rdqb.general@csadm.just.gov.ab.ca

All requests will be considered by a designated Justice in each city. Written confirmation will be provided if the matter is accepted into the EICC project. Counsel must then appear in regular family chambers with the acceptance letter for the purpose of confirming the date for the EICC and to obtain an Order and an information package for each of the parties.