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Process for family law cases changes in Saskatoon and Regina


The way family law cases are handled is changing in Saskatchewan’s two largest cities.

As of Nov. 1, almost all family law applicants are required to participate in a Judicial Case Conference (JCC).

A JCC is a an informal meeting with a judge. The goal is for the parties, typically spouses, to settle issues before going into the courtroom.

Justice Gwen Goebel said this new process aims to triage cases and save time.

“Our focus throughout the development of this model has been on family wellness and access to affordable and timely justice for families in Saskatchewan,” Goebel told CTV News.

Ben Rakochy, a family lawyer with Scharfstein LLP, said traditionally a lawyer or client could simply set a court date. But under a JCC, parties must meet before going into the courtroom.

“Before even doing a JCC, you have to do mediation — so I know that’s a concern some lawyers have of essentially this is adding to cost, adding to access to justice,” Rakochy said.

The change to the family law process is part of a four-year pilot project in Saskatoon and Regina.

Crystal Giesbrecht works with domestic violence shelters in the province as a director at the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services (PATHS).

She said she welcomes the change as it could make the court process less traumatic for survivors of intimate partner violence.

“Going through the family court process is very stressful, it's very difficult, very time consuming for many people,” Giesbrecht said.

“So to be able to resolve matters before it gets to a stage of having to submit affidavits and go to the next steps can really alleviate some of that burden.”

The province will monitor the pilot project to decide whether to expand the change across Saskatchewan. Top Stories

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