A new Chief Justice, many new Judicial appointments, and a new “four pillars” approach to the work of the Court are the highlights of the Court of Queen’s Bench 2017-2018 year, as set out in the Court’s 2017-2018 Annual Report.
Justice Mary T. Moreau was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta on October 12, 2017. In 2017-2018, the Court also welcomed the appointments of 15 new Justices:
Justice Steven Mandziuk Justice Bernette Ho
Justice Michael Lema Justice David Labrenz
Justice Grant Dunlop Justice Nancy Dilts
Justice Marta Burns Justice Anne Kirker
Justice Gaylene Kendell Justice April Grosse
Justice James Neilson Justice Alice Woolley
Justice Jane Fagnan
Justice Michael Kraus
Justice Susan Bercov
The 2017-2018 Annual Report describes the new Court administration’s vision of the Court’s future, best expressed in four pillars. These are:
- Promoting communication and public outreach: The Court recognizes the importance of finding ways to improve communication with the public in order to demystify the work of the Court and maintain public confidence in the justice system.
- Moving towards a paperless court: The Court recognizes that integrating technology into its processes to create a paperless court system is long overdue, and is working closely with government to identify and implement technological solutions to long-outdated processes.
- Embracing diversity, inclusion and access to justice: The Court has taken note of the calls to action put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It also recognizes Alberta’s rich diversity from the perspective of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, language, geographical origin, gender, sexual orientation and age. Court users are as diverse as the province’s population. The Court is making efforts to ensure that this diversity is reflected in the people working at the Court and that our processes are inclusive and responsive to the needs of all court users.
- Reforming the Family Justice System, early resolution and referral: Working in collaboration with the Government of Alberta and the Law Society of Alberta through the Reforming Family Justice System (RFJS) project, the Court has identified a substantial number of areas for concrete action that will help to ensure appropriate social, relationship, parenting and financial supports are in place for families, and reducing the number and types of issues that proceed to trial.
The 2017-2018 Annual Report describes the initiatives the Court has undertaken to advance five key strategic priorities:
- Better integrate technology solutions into Court operations and streamline or reinvent Court processes;
- Critically review the role of the Court in the justice system and align existing services with that defined role to address the current crisis in lead times and facilitate timely access to justice;
- Define reasonable workloads by the capacity of available resources, rather than by demands that continue to grow and outpace available resources;
- Achieve greater autonomy for the Court in order to ensure judicial independence and adequate resourcing to preserve the rule of law and confidence in the administration of justice; and
- Embrace diversity and inclusion as an integral component of the Court’s culture.
The 2017-2018 Annual Report includes reports from the Court’s Executive Board, Strategic Planning Committee and 9 internal Steering Committees charged with developing initiatives to advance the Court’s Four Pillars agenda and strategic priorities (Civil Law, Criminal Law, Commercial Law, Family Law, Communications, Education, French Language and Interpretation, Diversity Inclusion and Access, Information Management and Technology).
The full Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta 2017-2018 Annual Report is available here:
2017-2018 Court of Queen's Bench Annual Report.