Court of King’s Bench Update: Pilot Project to Set Civil Trial Dates By Order

The Alberta Courts have announced a pilot project to move non-family civil actions through the court system faster. This move is in line with Rule 1.2 of the Alberta Rules of Court (the “Rules”) which provides that the Rules should, “facilitate the quickest means of resolving a claim at the least expense.”

The pilot will allow parties to obtain trial dates earlier than prior, pursuant to Rules 8.4(3) and 8.5. Rule 8.5 will enable a judge to set a trial date when, having received adequate information and making required directions, they are satisfied that the parties will be ready for trial on the scheduled date. Applications to set a trial date pursuant to this Rule may be made by any party to an action after pleadings have closed and 90 days after the deadline for all affidavits of records.

Application to Set a Trial Date

For a trial date to be successfully set, the parties must complete the following steps:

  1. The Applicant must serve on every other party a proposed litigation plan and a proposed order entering the action for trial.
  2. Within 10 days of service of the proposed litigation plan and order, each of the other parties must respond to the Applicant’s proposed documents and add necessary information as needed.
  3. The application to set a trial date must be filed in Form 38 and include:
  • Record of pleadings
  • Proposed litigation plan and order
  • Information and comments from other parties
  • Estimated duration of trial
  • Additional information required for the court to assess when the action will be ready for trial

Once received by the courts, the presiding judge may do any one of the following:

  1. Set an action for a trial of specified duration, with procedural directions including an order that the parties follow a litigation plan.
  2. Make a procedural order to facilitate the scheduling of a trial date; or
  3. Dismiss the application.

If an action has been set for trial, any party may apply for relief related to deadlines, procedural orders, and modifications to the estimated duration of the trial.

Commencing May 31, 2024, applications to set trial dates will be heard in Civil Appearance Court in Edmonton and Calgary on the last Friday of every month. In other judicial centres, these applications will be set by way of case conference. For more information on this pilot, read the court’s complete notice to the profession here.

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