Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

Provincial (Family) Court: Family Case Conferences (British Columbia)

Province/Territory
British Columbia

Type of service
Family Court Services

Services offered
Before there is a hearing on any family application in Provincial Court, the parties may attend a family case conference in which they sit around a table with a judge in a conference room to discuss their parenting plan, determine whether they can settle the dispute, and identify any issues that require a full hearing. The judge at the family case conference may, among other things:

  • mediate any of the issues in dispute;
  • decide any issues that do not require evidence;
  • make a conduct order
    • requiring the parties to participate in family dispute resolution within the meaning of the Family Law Act, or
    • requiring one or more parties or, with or without the consent of the child's guardian, a child, to attend counselling, specified services or programs;
  • refer the parties to a family justice counsellor or to a person designated by the Attorney General to provide specialized maintenance assistance;
  • direct the parties to attend a further family case conference, setting a date for that conference, or set dates for a trial preparation conference or for trial;
  • make an interim or final order requested in an application, reply or notice of motion (even if a party, or another required person fails to attend the conference);
  • without hearing witnesses, give a non-binding opinion on the probable outcome of a hearing or trial; and
  • make any other order or give any direction that the judge considers appropriate.
In British Columbia, family law cases are heard in both the Provincial Court and the B.C. Supreme Court. Because their responsibilities overlap in some areas - including guardianship, parenting time, contact and support - many couples find that they have a choice: they can go to either court. In other cases, such as divorce or the division of property, only the Supreme Court is responsible.

The following links to Rule 7 of the Provincial Court (Family) Rules that describes Family Case Conferences:
http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/417_98_01#rule7

Pilot or ongoing service
Ongoing service

Department responsible
Provincial Court judiciary

How to access this service
A Family Case Conference is available only to Provincial Court litigants where guardianship, parenting arrangements or contact issues are contested, and at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Location(s)
Location of provincial courts in British Columbia may be found at:
http://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/locations-contacts
[ Service(s) offered ]

Language(s)
English

Publications/information
Not applicable

Costs
No charge

Governing legislation/legislative authority
Rule 7 of the Provincial Court (Family) Rules

Contact person(s)
Please contact the provincial court registry nearest you for further information. http://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/locations-contacts

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