Victoria Early Resolution and Case Management Model
If someone involved in your family law dispute is in Victoria, BC, a new court process may apply to you. In May 2019 the Ministry of Justice launched the Early Resolution and Case Management process for family law disputes filed in the Victoria registry of the Provincial Court of British Columbia.
When the Model applies
The Early Resolution and Case Management Model applies to you if:
- you already have a Provincial Court family law case with the same parties in Victoria,
- your family law case involves a child related issue and the child lives closest to the Victoria registry most of the time, or
- your family law case does not involve a child related issue and you live closest to the Victoria registry most of the time.
When the Model does not apply
The Model does not apply to you if:
- your file is transferred out of Victoria registry,
- you made an application before May 13, 2019 in the Victoria registry, or
- you filed your Notice of Motion before May 13, 2019 in the Victoria registry.
How the Model works
The Early Resolution & Case Management Model is designed to encourage parties to resolve family disputes by agreement or to help them move their case along to a quicker resolution.
If you have a dispute about a family law matter, including child support, spousal support, parenting arrangements, contact, or guardianship, you will start by filing a form called the Notice to Resolve a Family Law Matter at the Victoria registry, and by giving the other party a copy. You will then be directed to the Justice Access Centre (JAC) to make an appointment for your individual needs assessment. At the needs assessment, a family justice counsellor will provide you with information about your options, about the court process, and about how to access legal advice and other resources. They will make an assessment about whether consensual dispute resolution is appropriate for you, taking into consideration whether there are power imbalances, issues of safety or family violence, or language barriers, and also taking into consideration the nature of the issues to be resolved and the ability of the parties to participate and/or accommodations that can be made to facilitate participation.
If you have children, you will be required to complete the Parenting After Separation program, unless you have completed it within the last two years or meet one of the few exemptions.
If it is appropriate, you and the other party will participate in at least one consensual dispute resolution session to mediate your issues.
When issues are resolved during early resolution, you can formalize your agreements by written agreement or consent order.
If there are still some issues that need to be resolved, and you need the Court’s help, you then file a form called the Family Law Matter Claim with all your supporting documents and serve it on the other party or parties.
When the other party has replied or the time for reply has passed, you can contact the Judicial Case Manager to schedule a Family Management Conference. At the Family Management Conference, you and the other party (or parties) will meet with a judge. The judge will work with you to see whether agreement can be reached on some or all of the issues. The judge can make interim (temporary) orders or final orders by consent.
If there are still issues to resolve, the judge can make case management orders to ensure the matter is ready for trial if one is needed. The usual process in provincial court for case conferences, trial preparation, trials, and enforcement of Family Maintenance matters still applies if your issues have not been fully resolved.
The Model also includes changes to the rules and forms for applications about:
- protection orders,
- enforcement of existing orders,
- giving, refusing, or withdrawing consent to medical, dental, or other health-related treatments for a child, if delay will result in risk to the health of the child,
- applying for a passport, licence, permit, benefit, privilege, or other thing for the child, if delay will result in risk of harm to the child’s physical, psychological, or emotional safety, security, or well-being,
- relocation of a child,
- preventing the removal of a child from a certain location, or
- determining matters relating to interjurisdictional issues.
Parties involved in these matters will file and serve an application and proceed to a hearing without having to participate in the early resolution processes. If the parties have one of these types of matters and an early resolution family law matter, they can go through court to get the one issue resolved and proceed through early resolution and case management on the other issues. The model recognizes that protection orders and some parenting matters are urgent and need to proceed directly to court.
To read more about the Victoria Early Resolution Model see: https://www.gov.bc.ca/victoria-early-resolution.
The Ministry of Justice has also published a simplified process map.
- Victoria Early Resolution & Case Management Model
- Victoria Early Resolution and Case Management Model Explained
- Simplified Process Map
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Shannon Aldinger, June 15, 2019.|
|JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|
Normally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province. The Supreme Court is a court of inherent jurisdiction and is subject to no limits on the sorts of claims it can hear or on the sorts of orders it can make. Decisions of the Provincial Court are appealed to the Supreme Court; decisions of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal. See "Court of Appeal," "jurisdiction," "Provincial Court," and "Supreme Court of Canada."
A court established and staffed by the provincial government, which includes Small Claims Court, Youth Court, and Family Court. The Provincial Court is the lowest level of court in British Columbia and is restricted in the sorts of matters it can deal with. It is, however, the most accessible of the two trial courts and no fees are charged to begin or defend a family court proceeding. The Family Court of the Provincial Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the Divorce Act. See "judge" and "jurisdiction."
A central office, located in each judicial district, at which the court files for each court proceeding in that district are maintained, and at which legal documents can be filed, searched, and reviewed; a courthouse.
Money paid by one parent or guardian to another parent or guardian as a contribution toward the cost of a child's living and other expenses.
A payment made by one spouse, the payor, to the other spouse, the recipient, to help with their day-to-day living expenses or to compensate the recipient for the financial choices the spouses made during the relationship.
A term under the Family Law Act which describes the arrangements for parental responsibilities and parenting time among guardians, made in an order or agreement. "Parenting arrangements" does not include contact. See "contact," "guardian," "parental responsibilities," and "parenting time."
A term under the Family Law Act that describes the visitation rights of a person, who is not a guardian, with a child. Contact may be provided by court order or by the agreement among the child's guardians who have parental responsibility for determining contact. See "guardian" and "parental responsibilities."
In law, a person named as an applicant, claimant, respondent, or third party in a court proceeding; someone asserting a claim in a court proceeding or against whom a claim has been brought. See "action" and "litigant."
Under the Divorce Act, the schedule of a parent's time with their children under an order or agreement. Access usually refers to the schedule of the parent with the least amount of time with the child. See "custody."
The processes used to conclusively resolve legal disputes including negotiation, collaborative settlement processes, mediation, arbitration, and litigation.
An order resolving all or part of a court proceeding, on an interim or final basis, that the parties agree the court should make.
In law, an answer or rebuttal to a claim made or a defence raised by the other party to a court proceeding or legal dispute. See "action," "claim," "defence," and "rebut."
A person appointed by the federal or provincial government to manage and decide court proceedings in an impartial manner, independent of influence by the parties, the government, or agents of the government. The decisions of a judge are binding upon the parties to the proceeding, subject to appeal.
Agreement; the giving of permission for a thing to happen or not happen.
The testing of the claims at issue in a court proceeding at a formal hearing before a judge with the jurisdiction to hear the proceeding. The parties present their evidence and arguments to the judge, who then makes a determination of the parties' claims against one another that is final and binding on the parties unless appealed. See "action," "appeal," "argument," "claim," "evidence," and "jurisdiction."
A person who is younger than the legal age of majority, 19 in British Columbia. See "age of majority."
In law, the duty a lawyer has to keep their client’s information confidential, including communications between the lawyer and client and advice given to the client; the client's right to have their confidential communications kept secret and protected from disclosure. See "lawyer."
In law, any proceeding before a judicial official to determine questions of law and questions of fact, including the hearing of an application and the hearing of a trial. See "decision" and "evidence."