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The New Streamlined Trial Process

Starting January 1, 2024, a streamlined trial process for civil and family matters was implemented. Identified issues with the previous summary trial process included the absence of a fixed deadline for objections on the mode of trial leading to last minute disruptions, and the court’s ability to decline making a decision at the end of the hearing if it determined the matter was not appropriate for summary trial.


The new streamlined trial process aims to address the concerns with the previous summary trial process by:

  • Requiring parties to confirm their attendance three months beforehand, aiming to reduce last-minute objections;
  • Introduction mandatory pre-trial conferences or Rule 4.10 conferences for streamlined trial to further mitigate late objections;
  • Resolving any disputes regarding the mode of trial promptly, with the court having the authority to impose a penalty on a party who makes an unjustified objection to the streamlined trial; and
  • Requiring judges to deliver a judgment on the merits at the trial’s conclusion.


Pursuant to Rules 8.25(1) and 8.26(1), parties must obtain an Order permitting a streamlined trial, bringing an Application using Form 36, and is heard at a Case Conference scheduled under Rule 4.10. If the parties consent on the use of the streamlined trial process, this will be only be a factor considered in the Application. The Application should be accompanied by the draft Order outlining the issues to be determined at the streamlined trial, witnesses whose Affidavits are to be relied on at the streamlined trial and all witnesses who may give oral evidence at the streamlined trial.

Evidence will mainly be presented through Affidavits, and while parties retain the right to cross-examine affiants, such-cross examination should occur prior to the trial.

Parties are required to jointly prepare an organized record identifying disputed issues and agreeing on relevant facts, allowing for an efficient adjudication. Further, per Rule 8.28(4), the parties are to attend a second Case Conference no later than 3 months before the trial date to confirm trial readiness. Each party then must confirm in Form 39 that they have attended the second Case Conference and that they will be ready to proceed with the streamlined trial.

Prior to the streamlined trial, parties must submit to the trial judge a written opening statement which should describe what each party believes the evidence will demonstrate and what that party’s position is on the outcome of the streamlined trial. The opening statement should be a maximum of 5 pages. After the trial, parties are to file a closing brief, restricted to 15 pages, detailing the relied-upon facts, rationale behind the sought relief and presenting any other arguments.

As mentioned, streamlined trials are full trials on the merits, and pursuant to Rule 8.30(2), judgment will be granted by the trial judge.


The amendments appear to tackle the issues that have arisen from the summary trial process. The Court now holds authority to mandate streamlined trials, there is more clarity for litigants, and any objections to the streamlined trial process are addressed by the court in advance, eliminating the uncertainty previously associated with preparing for summary trial only for the court to later deem unsuitable.

If you're considering legal action and are curious about how the new streamlined trial process for civil and family matters might impact your case, contact Vivian Stevenson, KC or Maryam Musbah in Edmonton or Anthony Burden in Calgary for guidance.