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Alberta Rules of Court Project

Year: 
2001
Description: 

The Alberta Law Reform Institute's multi-year review of the Alberta Rules of Court, producing reform recommendations to increase the clarity, usability, and effectiveness of the Rules.

Status: 

Proposed Rules were implemented on November 1, 2010

Jurisdiction: 

Alberta

Court: 
  • Court of Queen's Bench
  • Court of Appeal
Body Responsible: 

Alberta Law Reform Institute

Timeline: 
2001 Consultations on Alberta Rules of Court Reforms commenced
January - September 2002 Public consultation
September 2002 Public Consultation Report released
2002 - 2007 Various consultation memoranda released
March 2007 Draft Rules released
October 2008 Final Report and Proposed Rulesreleased.
1 November 2010 Planned implementation date
Development: 

Other than various amendments, the Alberta Rules of Court have not been comprehensively reviewed since they were written in 1968. The legal community and the public have raised concerns regarding the timeliness, affordability, and comprehensibility of the Rules. As a result, it was agreed that the rules would be rewritten, with the Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) assigned to manage the project. The Rules of Court project is a multi-year project charged with reviewing the Alberta Rules of Court and assessing potential reforms. The objective of the Project is to increase the clarity, usability, and effectiveness of the Rules in to make them more accessible. 

The Project is funded by the Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI), the Alberta Department of Justice, the Law Society of Alberta and the Alberta Law Foundation, and is managed by ALRI. In pursuit of this goal, ALRI has sought the input of the legal community to define the direction of the reforms.

Purpose: 

The Rules of Court Project has four objectives that address both the need for rewriting the rules and reforming practice:

Objective # 1: Maximize the Rules' Clarity

Results will include:

  • simplifying complex language
  • revising unclear language
  • consolidating repetitive provisions
  • removing obsolete or spent provisions
  • shortening rules where possible

Objective # 2: Maximize the Rules' Usability

Results will include:

  • reorganizing the rules according to conceptual categories within a coherent whole
  • restructuring the rules so that it is easier to locate relevant provisions on any given topic

Objective # 3: Maximize the Rules' Effectiveness

Results will include:

  • updating the rules to reflect modern practices
  • pragmatic reforms to enhance the courts' process of justice delivery designing the rules so they facilitate the courts' present and future responsiveness to ongoing technological change, foreseeable systems change and user needs

Objective # 4: Maximize the Rules' Advancement of Justice System Objectives

Results will include:

  • pragmatic reforms to advance justice system objectives for civil procedure such as fairness, accessibility, timeliness and cost effectiveness"
Final Report at 3-4
.
Description of Reforms: 

The first stage of the Project was to collect feedback on the Rules. A survey was conducted rating the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of respondents with different areas of the Rules. The areas with the highest dissatisfaction ratings were:

  • 1) cost of legal fees,
  • 2) time to resolve a legal case, and
  • 3) the overall legal process.

Areas with medium dissatisfaction were:

  • 1) court forms,
  • 2) information available through the court,
  • 3) ease of understanding the legal process,
  • 4) the trial,
  • 5) the discovery stage, and
  • 6) interlocutory hearings.

Working Committees were established to examine particular subject areas. They produced published consultation memoranda on topics such as Self-Represented Litigants, Costs and Sanctions, Discovery and Evidence Issues, Judicial Review, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. 

These reports were used to prepare the Draft Rules, released in March 2007. Consultations on the new rules was undertaken and feedback from the Rules of Court Committee was incorporated into the rules, resulting in the Final Report and Proposed Rules, released in October 2008. ALRI has proposed an amendment to Alberta's Judicature Act to set out a clear process for adopting and revising Rules of Court.

 

Revision History:
This summary was last reviewed in Jan 17, 2014:custom:F, Jan 17, 2014:custom:Y.