Who this guide is for
This step-by-step guide is for you if you must have or want to have a Judicial Case Conference (JCC) in BC Supreme Court.
About Judicial Case Conferences
A JCC is a confidential meeting between you, the other party, your lawyers if have them, and a judge or master. It gives you and the other party a chance to work things out without having to go to court. You and the other party meet with a judge/master to:
- identify exactly which issues you agree on and which are in dispute,
- explore ways other than a trial to resolve the issues, and
- make sure you've both provided all necessary information.
Having a JCC can save time, money, and stress, especially if it helps you settle your case. It can also avoid or reduce the hard feelings that arise when you have to go to court.
Usually you're required to attend a JCC before you can file a Notice of Application (Form F31), including an application for any interim order related to parenting or support.
You can also request a Judicial Case Conference (JCC) at any time after you start a family law case. See our guide Start a family law case to get a new order in Supreme Court for links to the blank forms you'll need to start a family law case.
To find out more about JCCs, read Judicial Case Conferences in Supreme Court.
If you have to deal with a Judicial Case Conference
To help you deal with a JCC, this guide includes:
- a list of steps explaining how to deal with a JCC,
- links to the blank forms you'll need, and
- information about where to file or send the documents to prepare for a JCC.
When you don't have to attend
Although in most cases you must attend a Judicial Case Conference (JCC) before you can file a Notice of Application (Form F31), there are some automatic exceptions. You do not have to attend a JCC if you're asking for the following kinds of orders:
- An order that the other party agrees with (also known as a consent order);
- An order where you don't give notice to the other party;
- An order that says spouses "have no reasonable prospect of reconciliation";
- A change to a final order (also known as a "change order" or "variation application");
- An order that stops the other party from doing something with property (selling, mortgaging, etc.) to which you may have a claim;
- An order to set aside (cancel) or to replace an agreement; or
- An order to change or set aside the determination of a parenting coordinator (a "determination" is what the decision of a parenting coordinator is called).
There are also valid reasons for which you can apply to the court to be excused from a JCC. You can apply to be excused if:
- your family matter is urgent and must be resolved quickly;
- it's too soon to have a JCC;
- it would be unfair, inappropriate, or unmanageable to have a JCC;
- it could be dangerous to your health or safety to delay your application or to require a JCC; or
- the judge or master decides it's appropriate to excuse you.
Telephone conferences are available, but you have to specially request one from the trial coordinator.
How to apply for an exemption
To apply to be exempted from the JCC, you need to fill out either:
- a general Requisition (Form F17) (PDF) (Word) to tell the court why you should be exempted, and
- a letter listing all the facts that justify your exemption request, signed by you or your lawyer.
- a general Requisition (Form F17) to tell the court why you should be exempted that contains all the same language (with your name/address) as this sample filled-out requisition on the JP Boyd on Family Law wikibook (this puts everything into a single form instead of a form plus a letter).
The Requisition (Form F17) has instructions to help you fill it out. See Common questions about the Supreme Court PDF forms and Common questions about the Supreme Court Word forms for help using the forms.
File your Requisition (Form F17) and your letter at the registry where your Notice of Family Claim (Form F3) was filed.
The court considers your request
The registry will give your documents to a judge or master, and he or she will consider your request. The judge or master can:
- require you to provide more information by filing more material,
- require that you or your lawyer appear in court to speak to the application,
- make the order you asked for,
- refuse to make the order, or
- make any other order.
The registry staff will let you know what the judge/master decides. While you wait for the decision, you may not have to attend court.
Schedule the JCC
If you're scheduling the Judicial Case Conference (JCC), it's a good idea to check with the other party about the dates and times he or she is available. If you set the JCC for a time that won't work for the respondent, the JCC will probably have to be delayed.
When you have a preferred date and time for your JCC, check the Supreme Court Scheduling page (select your location, then click "JCC available dates" and make a note of the phone number), and then call the trial coordinator at the courthouse where your order was filed.
When you call to get this date and time, ask the coordinator how quickly you have to file a Notice of Judicial Case Conference (Form F19; you'll be filing this in the next step). Filing a Notice of Judicial Case Conference will guarantee the date, but if you don't file the form in time, you may lose the date you booked.
Prepare documents for the JCC
After you get a date and time for your Judicial Case Conference (JCC), you need to fill out a Notice of Judicial Case Conference (Form F19) (PDF) (Word), a document that you file in the court registry to tell the court that you want a JCC. It contains technical instructions to help you fill it out. You can either fill out the form online or print it and fill it out by hand (print neatly using dark-coloured ink).
See also our fact sheets Common questions about the Supreme Court PDF forms or Common questions about the Supreme Court Word forms for help using the form.
The Litigants' Guide will help you prepare for the JCC. The Case Management Plan is a form that the judge will fill out at the end of the JCC; the plan helps the judge or master identify the issues of the case. It's helpful to review this blank form before the JCC to give you a sense of what might happen at a JCC and what he or she might order. You, the other party, and the judge/master will eventually sign it.
Print out two copies of the Litigants' Guide to Judicial Case Conferences and the Case Management Plan form — one copy for you and other copy to give to the other party.
Make three copies of your completed Notice of Judicial Case Conference (Form F19):
- One copy is for your own records.
- One copy is for your spouse; you will serve the documents to him or her. (More details are provided in the next step.)
- One copy will be attached to an Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16). (Again, more details in the next step.)
- The original will be filed with the court (see the next step).
Add the Litigants' Guide and the Case Management Plan form to the package of documents to give to the other party.
Make a cover page to attach to each copy that contains:
- the style of proceedings (names of the parties), court file number, and registry;
- the title JUDICIAL CASE CONFERENCE and a brief description of what the material is about (for example, "RULE 7-1(7) Notice of Judicial Case Conference with respect to family matters");
- contact information for each of the parties or their lawyers, including addresses for service, phone and fax numbers or email addresses that the registry can use to contact you;
- the time, date, and place of the conference;
- the name of the party or lawyer who is filing the notice; and
- the time estimated for the conference.
File and serve
File the documents at the registry
File the original Notice of Judicial Case Conference (Form F19) at the court registry where the Notice of Family Claim (Form F3) was filed. You'll need to pay an $80 filing fee, so bring along this amount in cash or a cheque or money order made out to the Minister of Finance.
Serve the documents on the other person
Follow the instructions in our self-help guide Serve Supreme Court documents to serve the documents. As part of this process, you'll prepare an Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16). Have this affidavit ready to show in court in case the other party (the respondent) doesn't attend the JCC. If this happens, you can ask for costs, which means that the judge/master may order the other party to pay part of your legal expenses. This is called an award or costs. (See our fact sheet Costs and expenses for more information.)
If you haven't already served your Financial Statement (Form F8) on the other party and are required to do so, serve that document now as well. See our self-help guide Complete a Supreme Court Financial Statement (Form F8) for links to the blank forms you'll need.
If you don't schedule a JCC, the other party may arrange for one. If you're served with a Notice of Judicial Case Conference (Form F19), you must attend the JCC requested by the other party (or apply to be excused — see step 1). If you don't attend, you may have to pay part of the legal expenses of the other party (this is called "costs being awarded against you").
Respond to a Notice of JCC, if required
If the other party serves you with a Notice of Judicial Case Conference (Form F19), you must appear at the JCC on the date and at the time of the notice. If you can't attend on that date, let the other party and the registry know. Try to work with the other party to arrange a date when you both can attend.
At least seven days before the date set for the JCC, you may need to file and serve the Financial Statement (Form F8) and related documents. See our self-help guide Complete a Supreme Court Financial Statement (Form F8) to find out if you're required to file one before the JCC.
You'll also need to read the Litigant's Guide to Judicial Case Conferences and the Case Management Plan form that are served on you with the Notice of Judicial Case Conference (Form F19).
Attend the JCC
The Litigants' Guide to Judicial Case Conferences (see step 3) describes in detail what happens at the JCC. Read it again before you go to court.
The one-and-a-half-hour JCC meeting will be held at the courthouse where the Notice of Family Claim (Form F3) was filed, in a courtroom or in a meeting room. On the day of your meeting, check the bulletin board at the courthouse, or ask registry staff for help to find the correct room. Arrive early at the JCC so you're ready to begin promptly at the scheduled time.
What to bring with you
Bring your Litigants' Guide to Judicial Case Conferences and a blank Case Management Plan form and your Financial Statement (Form F8). You should also bring your Affidavits of Service.
What you'll discuss
The judge/master will begin by asking each of you what you think the issues are. Refer to your Litigants' Guide to Judicial Case Conferences and Case Management Plan form when giving your answers.
Then together with the judge/master you'll review different ways to resolve the issue(s). If you have any questions about ways to resolve the issues, this is your chance to ask (for more information about the ways to resolve, see Part II of the Case Management Plan form). Depending on your circumstances, the discussion may focus on how to settle your case, or it might move on to how to manage the case.
Be prepared to share information
You may also discuss pre-trial procedures such as examinations for discovery or disclosure. The judge/master can make orders and directions to see that these pre-trial procedures are carried out.
Managing your case often involves making sure you both have the information you need to have a meaningful settlement discussion. This information is generally the same information you'll need to present in court if the case isn't settled at the JCC. If you haven't already exchanged financial statements, the judge/master may order them to be exchanged within a certain time. He or she may even order both of you to attend another JCC once that has happened.
If an order is made
If the judge or master makes an order at a Judicial Case Conference, use an Order Made at Judicial Case Conference (Form F51.1). See the fact sheet Tips for writing Supreme Court orders and the self-help guide Write a Supreme Court order for more information about how to draft the order.
You've now gone through all the steps required to respond to prepare for, schedule, and attend a Judicial Case Conference in Supreme Court. Thank you for using our self-help guide.