STUVE v STUVE, 2020 ABCA 467


1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
4.16: Dispute resolution processes

Case Summary

The Appellant appealed a Chambers Judge’s Decision to refuse to direct the parties to arbitration. The Appellant and the Respondent were previously married and were engaged in a matrimonial property dispute. The parties agreed to participate in a binding Judicial Dispute Resolution, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting Court closure. The Appellant relied on Rule 4.16 to apply for an Order directing private arbitration. The Chambers Judge refused to direct the parties to arbitration.

On Appeal, the Appellant relied on Rule 1.2 to argue that the Rules are intended to be used in part to facilitate the quickest means of resolving a claim at the least expense. The Appellant also relied on Rule 4.16(4), which provides that the Court may, on Application or its own motion, “by order direct that the parties participate in a dispute resolution process”. The Appellant argued that these Rules, Court pronouncements, and the lack of right to Trial in non criminal matters, dictated that the Court can order parties to arbitration.

The Court disagreed. The Court determined that Rule 4.16 does not authorize a Judge to order arbitration without the consent of both parties. Instead, Rules 4.16(3) and (4) empower a Case Management Judge or Case Conference Judge to direct the parties to a non-binding dispute resolution process and expedite resolution though the parties may not be ready for Trial. The Court also noted that the Rule 4.16 process applies because the parties did not conclude their Judicial Dispute Resolution agreement. As a result, the Court dismissed the Appeal and ordered that each party bear its own Costs.

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