Alberta Rules of Court Implementation Date Revealed

The new Alberta Rules of Court will be implemented on November 1, 2010. This is the culmination of a project begun in 2001 to redraft the Alberta Rules.

The Rules have not been significantly revised since 1968. The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) was given a mandate to review the Rules of Court and produce recommendations for a new set of Rules. The project goal was to create rules that are clear, useful and effective tools for accessing a fair, timely and cost efficient civil justice system.

The old rules are available online from Alberta Queen’s Printer. The new rules document is not yet posted in final form, though the ALRI site final draft gives excellent hints on how the rules will look. Industry stakeholders participated in consultations on various rule topics which were published during this lengthy project.

The notice forwarded to me includes this note (links inserted by me):

What progress has been made over the last year?

Alberta Justice has been working with ALRI, the Rules of Court Committee and other stakeholders to provide the Minister with recommendations for new Rules. Drafting by Alberta Justice, Legislative Counsel, is close to completion.

Alberta Justice has also been working with the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) to develop training materials. The Court Services Working Group, made up of representatives from court offices throughout the province has also reviewed all of the recommendations so that court procedure manuals and necessary IT changes can be made. They will also play an important role in the development of training materials. Alberta Justice has also been working with the Queen’s Printer so that the Rules can be published and posted on their website.

Giselle Abt, Manager at Alberta Queen’s Printer, has shared some great news about the publication of the rules. The new version, like all current legislation, will be posted on their site. QP Source Professional [pdf], the subscription site for value added material from the Queen’s Printer, will host point-in-time versions of the new Rules. CanLII likely has similar plans as they have point in time for the existing rules.

What does this mean for annotated versions of the Rules? Carswell produces a couple of versions of annotated Alberta Rules, one in print, and one through Westlaw Canada’s Litigator tab. Steven Iseman, Product Development Manager (Litigator, Civil Practice) shared this with me:

As requested, I wanted to confirm for you some adaptations that we will be making to the Litigator templates and Rules Concordance to help you and your lawyers transition to the pending court rules:

1) The Rules Concordance will double-stream the Alberta Court Rules for a 6-12 month transitional period. During this time, both rules will appear in The Rules Concordance. The existing rules will keep their existing title, while the new rules will include a year (presumably 2010).

2) For Rule searches within Litigator (i.e. searches by “rule name” in the Court Motion Gallery or the Factum/Brief Gallery – Motions/Applications), both the old and new rule versions will appear in the “rule name” drop-down box. The rules will be distinguished by their year. This will allow you to search for documents under either set of rules, which you will be able to do from the in-force date of the new rules onward.

3) We will be adding a concordance to the templates of the Court Motion Gallery and the Factum/Brief Gallery – Motions/Applications to let users quickly concord rule numbers, both new-to-old and old-to-new.

I have one other piece of good news: our technical department has advised that we can retain the existing version of the book as is on Litigator and this will link to the old version of the Rules. The new edition will be published as a new database and this will link to the new Rules. So yes we will retain the two versions of the book for access on Litigator. We can keep the old version active for a 6-12 month period.

Since 2001, I have been avoiding reading the Alberta Rules of Court with the excuse that it was soon going to change. Since that excuse is stale dated I will pull out my reading glasses…as soon as a copy of the final document is available.


  1. Thanks for this update – does anyone know how the new rules propose dealing with electronic document discovery? The last time I heard a presentation on the new rules, the topic wasn’t even considered.

  2. The issue of electronic document discovery was discussed by the Alberta Law Reform Institute in Consultation Memorandum 12.2 on Document Discovery and Examination for Discovery at,

    The proposed rules, consistent with ALRI’S recommendations, are intended to achieve two purposes: (I) the rules should not in any way preclude or discourage the use of electronic document discovery; (II) the rules should not prescribe or stipulate any specific protocol for the conduct of electronic document discovery.

    Using a broad and generally accepted definition of \record\ as including electronic documents, the rules state a fundamental obligation to produce records that are material and relevant. The parties may agree on the appropriate protocol, or seek direction from the court in advance.

    The rules were not intended to, and hopefully do not limit the development of protocols and processes or industry practices in the area of document discovery.