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Best Judicial Case Conference JCC TipsAudra Bayer, Family Mediator, Kelowna

Best Judicial Case Conference JCC Tips will help you focus the family law issues in front of a Judge and help narrow the dispute or ideally settle your family law case at an early stage. MacLean Law’s Best Judicial Case Conference JCC Tips are designed to save you time, money and stress. Audra Bayer is the senior family law mediator at our Family and Estate Litigation ADR team and she has prepared a very helpful roadmap we use for our clients at JCC’s and for other family lawyers and self-represented parties to use.

Best Judicial Case Conference JCC Tips 1 877 602 9900

JCC AND THE DEFINITION OF OPPORTUNITY: A SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES THAT MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO DO SOMETHING

Jackie Joyner-Kersee said, ‘It’s better to look ahead and prepare, then to look back and regret.”Best Family Law JCC Tips 1 877 602 9900

The Court rules say that you must attend to a BC Judicial Case Conference (“JCC”) before you are allowed to bring an application to Court (except in exceptional circumstances such as Protection Orders, Orders to restrain parties from dissipating assets and other urgent or exceptional circumstances in which case you must apply for an exemption from having to attend to a JCC and you do that by filing a requisition.  You can also file a Consent Order; apply to vary (change) a Final Order; apply to set aside or replace an agreement or apply to change or set aside a decision made by a parent coordinator without having to attend to a JCC).

Due to the obligation to attend to a JCC before you have the right to access a Judge for a determination of an issue, some lawyers and or parties treat the JCC as a speed bump.  This is a mistake.  It is NOT a speed bump but rather it is an opportunity and it is your responsibility to ensure that this is not wasted.  Time with  Judge or Master is precious and difficult to obtain.  Time with a Master or Judge at a JCC is an opportunity to resolve issues and or organize the case.

A JCC is typically set for 1 hour and this hearing is completely confidential.  All discussions are without prejudice meaning they cannot be used in future contested proceedings such as applications or trial.  The transcript is only available in very rare circumstances and only by court order.  This is an opportunity for settlement discussions with a Judge or Master and the JCC is intended to be a safe environment for those discussions.

Best Judicial Case Conference JCC Tips – A Winning Roadmap

The following Best Judicial Case Conference JCC Tips are your roadmap to a successful JCC:

  1. Do not set the date too early in the case. It is important that your case is properly organized to make the most effective use of and obtain the most successful outcome at a JCC.  This means that F8 financial statements that attach personal tax returns, notices of assessment, statements that show the value of your assets and liabilities as at important dates (eg:  date of cohabitation, date of separation, current value) should already be exchanged.  The Rules provide that your F8 must be filed and served 30 days prior to the JCC.    The statements showing the value of assets as at the date of cohabitation are important if you are advancing a claim for an excluded value pursuant to s.85 of the Family Law Act. [See our 2 blogs on excluded property and how you can lose the exclusion if you are not careful.

  2. If you have an interest in a corporation, it may be that corporate documents should be exchanged and a valuation completed (ask us about the joint retainer rules with respect to expert valuations on property issues).  When there are children, parenting plan proposals should be exchanged.  If an expert report is required with respect to parenting, the expert should be jointly retained and the report should be completed.

  3. If there are no procedural issues to resolve and if the foundation of your case is not completed, there is no reason to set a JCC early in the case.  Getting it out of the way is a mistake.   You may not get another opportunity to sit with a Judge or Master to try to resolve your case.  If you do not have an important reason to set a JCC date, do not do it until the foundation of your case is built.

  4. That being said, you can request a JCC at any time, whether you have already had one or not.  This does not mean you will get another one, but if you do, it’s a privilege not a right and you should treat it as such.

  5. Once you have obtained your JCC date, you must file and serve your Notice of a Judicial Case Conference and this must be served at least 10 days prior to the JCC;

  6. Prepare a Brief and serve it on the other lawyer or party. The Rules do not provide for the filing and service of a JCC Brief.  In our firm’s experience, these briefs are worth the time and effort and are appreciated by the Judges/Masters.

JCC Briefs Make Sense

It is unfortunate that we are not permitted by the Court to file briefs.  These briefs put the Judge/Master in a better position to assist the parties in bringing their matter to a resolution.  This does not mean that they ought not to be prepared and exchanged.  This ought to be done at least one week prior to the JCC.  You should also let the other lawyer/party know that you intend to hand a copy up to the Judge or Master at the JCC.  You will have to ask permission of the Judge/Master to do this at the JCC but in our experience, the Judge/Master will be happy to accept the brief.  This brief is the roadmap to the JCC.

The brief should be a “living document”.  If you have done a good job with the drafting of the brief, it can be amended to become your mediation brief and or a settlement conference brief and can and should be the foundation of your Offer to Settle.

We cannot stress enough that this brief is not an additional or needless cost.  The best family lawyers know this should not add to the cost of litigation but rather if you have completed all of the triage and foundational work at the outset of the matter, this brief and the JCC will be an important part of the dispute resolution continuum.  The brief will be an important summary of all of the work you have done to date.  This important summary will provide the other lawyer/party and the Court with the information needed to make the best use of a Judge/Master’s time and a roadmap for the resolution of the issues in your case. Have a one page executive summary of your brief together with a copy of your brief to hand up at the JCC.    It is good practice to also have an additional copy for the other lawyer/party who may forget to bring their copy and to avoid any argument that they do not have the brief and as such it should not be provided to the Judge/Master.

Best Judicial Case Conference JCC Tips include knowing the Rules which pertain to the JCC – read them and print them out to have with you as a reference. The Rules are set out in SCFR 7-1 and include rules about the following:

  • Requesting a judicial case conference
  • The requirement to hold a judicial case conference
  • Applications that may be brought before a judicial case conference
  • The court may relieve a party from the requirement of subrule (2)
  • How to apply for relief
  • Powers of the Court – What can a Judge do at a JCC?
  • How to request a judicial case conference
  • What must be served if a judicial case conference is requested
  • The court may require a judicial case conference
  • Form F8 Financial Statement must be filed before a judicial case conference
  • Other parties must file and serve Form F8 financial statement
  • Judicial case conference must be conducted by judge or mater
  • Who must attend the judicial case conference
  • Absent parties must be available and accessible by telephone or other means
  • What happens at the judicial case conference
  • Judge or Master may be seized of further applications
  • Other Judges or Masters may hear applications
  • Proceedings must be recorded

You can find the rules here.

Watch Our Video On Judicial case Conferences

For a more detailed presentation on Preparing for a JCC please watch our Prezi Presentation.

We hope these Best Judicial Case Conference JCC Tips have been useful to you and we look forward to meeting you at any of our 6 offices across BC and in Calgary Alberta.