27 January 2011

Supreme Court Scheduling Online

Here's a very handy link to add to your bookmarks, the scheduling page of the Supreme Court of British Columbia's website: www.courts.gov.bc.ca/supreme_court/scheduling/. This page lets you see the available court dates for:
  1. Judicial Case Conferences;
  2. chambers applications longer than two hours ("Family Lengthy Chambers Available Dates");
  3. Settlement Conferences;
  4. Trial Management Conferences;
  5. trials ranging from two to nineteen days in length; and,
  6. the court's calendar of closures and holidays ("Court Calendar 2011").
Very handy.

16 January 2011

New Random Answers to Random Search Terms

I haven't done a Random Answers post for awhile, but this week's search terms were inspiring. Click on the tag at the end of this article to read older posts.


>> remarrying after common law separation

Go right ahead and get married. Common-law couples aren't legally married, and you don't need to get a divorce before entering into a new long term relationship or getting married.

Separation Agreements

>> who can witness the signing of a separation agreement

Anyone who is 19 or older and sane, and not the other party to the agreement.

>> how many copies of the separation agreement are required in bc

Only one original copy is absolutely necessary, however it's sometimes helpful to have additional copies in case you need to file the agreement in court for enforcement purposes. Normally, each party would have one original copy and each lawyer would have one original copy, for a total of four copies. I usually make an extra original copy so that I can file one in court and still have an original copy for my records, making a total of five copies.

>> difference between separation agreement and divorce

A separation agreement is a contract recording the settlement of the issues arising when a relationship breaks down. A divorce is a court order legally terminating a marriage. You must get an order to be divorced, you can't be divorced by a separation agreement.


>> why is there a 31 day waiting period in a divorce case

This search term is about the 31 delay between the date the court makes a divorce order and the date the divorce order takes effect. The delay is required in order to allow the appeal period to expire before the couple are actually divorced. If there is an urgent reason for the divorce to take effect earlier than the end of the appeal period, the court making the divorce order can specify that it will take effect sooner. The court may require both spouses to execute Certificates of No Appeal.

>> does having sex with the person you just divorced make the divorce void

Nope. Go for it.


>> what happens if you respond late to a family claim in bc supreme court

In theory, someone who doesn't reply to a Notice of Family Claim within the 30 day period prescribed by Rule 4-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules is not a "respondent" as defined by Rule 1-1(1) and isn't entitled to notice of any further step in the case, including the trial. Although this sounds pretty Draconian, the court will allow a respondent to file a Response to Family Claim late and will usually allow an application to set aside a default judgment as long as the respondent had a good reason for not responding.

>> can judges make rulings at provincial court case conference

Yes. Under Rule 7(4) of the Provincial Court (Family) Rules, the judge hearing a Family Case Conference can (b) decide any issues that do not require evidence, (f) make an order to which all of the parties consent and (n) make any other order or give any direction that the judge considers appropriate. The court will not usually make any orders except procedural orders without the parties' agreement.

>> can a cpl be registered in bc provincial court

No, but they can't be registered in the Supreme Court either. Certificates of Pending Litigation are registered with the BC Land Title and Survey Authority.

10 January 2011

Decision Released in Marriage Commissioner Reference

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has just released its decision in a reference from the provincial government, In the Matter of Marriage Commissioners Appointed Under the Marriage Act, 1995.

This reference resulted from the enactment of the federal Civil Marriage Act in 2005 which redefined marriage to include same-sex unions. The Saskatchewan government asked the Court of Appeal whether a legislative amendment to allow marriage commissioners to refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies would be constitutional. In a nutshell, the court said no, holding that to do so would violate the equality rights of gays and lesbians in a manner that couldn't be justified on Charter grounds. This is the summary released by the Court of Appeal:
"The reasoning of the Court is grounded in section 15(1) of the Charter. This provision prohibits discrimination based on various characteristics including sexual orientation. The Court ruled that a law empowering marriage commissioners to deny their services to gay and lesbian individuals would clearly violate section 15(1) as it would treat them differently than other people and would do so in a discriminatory fashion based on their sexual orientation.

"The key issue in the case, according to the Court, was whether this violation of rights could be justified as being reasonable within the special meaning of that term as it is used in section 1 of the Charter. In this regard, the Court held that accommodating the religious beliefs of marriage commissioners could not justify discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. The Court emphasized that marriage commissioners act as government officials, not private individuals, when they perform marriage ceremonies. It also pointed out that the obligation to solemnize same-sex marriages does not affect or interfere with the core elements of a commissioner’s religious freedom: the freedom to hold beliefs and the freedom to worship. In addition, the Court underlined that allowing marriage commissioners to withhold their services because of personal religious convictions would undercut the fundamental principle that government services must be provided to all members of the public on an impartial and non-discriminatory basis."