Manitoba Case Management of Family Matters (Rule 70)
Queen's Bench rule of court designed to reduce unnecessary delay and expense by promoting early and fair settlements in family litigation.
Court of Queen's Bench
Court of Queen's Bench Statutory Rules Committee
|November 1995||Introduced as a pilot|
|2002||Full implementation of the program|
|2004||Second Evaluation conducted|
|2005||Amendments to improve case management|
Rule 70 Case Management originated as a pilot projected initiated in Winnipeg in November 1995. The pilot experimented with the new case management rules by randomly selecting cases. In 1998, an evaluation was conducted of the pilot project in which it was found to be successful, and the report recommended it be extended. The project was expanded first to 20 percent of cases, and later to all Family Division cases.
In 2004, the Family Division Case Management Evaluation was conducted by Prairie Research Associates Inc. Their research indicated that the case management program was a success, however, it was subjecting the system to some added pressure. They recommended alleviating the burden on the judiciary and court staff by modifying the rules to limit their application to certain cases. The essential gist of the 2005 amendments was to alter Rule 70.24 by making the case management system somewhat less mandatory but still discourage undue delay by an automatic 200-day time limit.
The Manitoba Case Management program was designed to reduce unnecessary delay and expense by promoting early and fair settlements.
Rule 70.24(10), which outlines circumstances triggering a case conference, was amended in 2005 to remove the triggering mechanisms of an answer and the 90-day expiry date. Under the current rules, the process commences with the courts monitoring a case once a Petition or Notice of Application is filed to start the legal separation process. If a Notice of Motion is filed requesting immediate resolution of an issue and a court date is requested, a case conference between the parties and a judge is automatically scheduled. A case conference can also be scheduled at the request of either party. A 200-day time limit was introduced in the 2002 rules. If no proceedings occur after 200 days from the filing of the originating process, then the registrar will send out a notice of dismissal. The parties then have 30 days to proceed, otherwise the proceeding will be dismissed. The purpose of these time limits is to ensure that case conferences are scheduled and held on a regular basis to move the proceedings along. At a case management conference a Case Management Information Statement must be filed stating what issues have been resolved and what have not. All issues may be resolved at a case conference, or the judge may:
- request further information
- refer the parties to mediation
- refer the parties to a parent education program
- schedule another case conference
The same judge assigned to a case may continue to work on it until all the issues are resolved or until it is decided the case must go to trial. A case management judge will not oversee the contested hearing unless all parties agree. For cases that do not qualify for case management either because they commence outside of Winnipeg, or began before November 1, 2002 then pre-trial conferences in accordance with Rule 70.26 are to be held.