Justice reform initiatives - Family and civil justice

British Columbia is taking great strides in transforming its family and civil justice system.

The Ministry of Attorney General is working to move the family and civil justice system from costly and time-consuming trials toward more collaborative, out-of-court processes that can help address issues and emotions that often drive legal conflict.

New Provincial Court Family Rules

The New Provincial Court Family Rules were implemented province-wide on May 17, 2021.

These rules focus on:

  • Early resolution of family law issues
  • A new approach to case management including family management conferences
  • Streamlined court processes, and
  • New forms that are easier to use and understand

These changes enhance the ability of the provincial court to resolve family cases while creating a better experience for families.

The new rules also include modernized court processes recognizing electronic communication, enabling electronic filing and giving judges more flexibility in determining the best use of court time. 

Only Surrey and Victoria are early resolution registries but more sites may be added in the future. 

For a detailed explanation of the new rules, see Provincial Court Family Rules (PCFR) Explained.

Early Resolution and Case Management

On December 7, 2020, the Provincial Court registries in Surrey and Victoria adopted the early resolution and case management features of the new Provincial Court Family Rules.

Surrey and Victoria continued as the only Early Resolution Registries when the new Provincial Court Family Rules were implemented on May 17, 2021. Other locations may be designated in the future.

Find more information on the Early Resolution Process pages. For the process on a page, see the Early Resolution Process diagram.

Family Law Act

The Family Law Act supports ways for parents to resolve family matters outside of the courtroom, through agreements, mediation, parenting co-ordination and arbitration. It also encourages family dispute resolution and counselling to remedy conflicts between people over concerns such as parenting arrangements.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal

The Civil Resolution Tribunal offers an end-to-end process including online information and tools, collaborative resolution and adjudication providing enforceable resolutions that allow British Columbians to solve common strata and small civil claims outside of the court. These online tools provide information that may prevent a dispute from growing. When necessary, disputes can be resolved by an independent tribunal member. The tribunal is being implemented in phases.  Once it is fully implemented, resolving a dispute through the tribunal is expected to take about 60 to 90 days.

Related Justice Transformation Projects

For examples of other ongoing family and civil justice transformation projects, see: