A Judicial Case Conference (“JCC”) is a mandatory hearing in a family law court case proceeding through the BC Supreme Court. It acts as a prelude to a family law case as parties are required to attend a JCC before they can apply for any interim orders, unless they acquire an exemption.
A JCC involves an informal, private and confidential hearing between the parties, their lawyers, and a Judge or Master of the BC Supreme Court. As the contents of a JCC are off-the-record, it provides the parties with a forum to discuss their issues freely and attempt to find a resolution. The Judge or Master provides assistance to the parties and cannot make any orders at a JCC without both parties’ consent. If the parties cannot reach a consensus at the JCC, then the Judge or Master can map out a timeline for litigation.
Where is a Judicial Case Conference Held?
As an informal meeting, a JCC can be held in any private and quiet setting. Usually, a JCC is held either in a conference room, boardroom or courtroom. A JCC is scheduled well in advance, at a specific time, and both parties are required to attend. Proceedings typically last for an hour, with each party and their lawyer having the opportunity to speak and ask questions.
How to Prepare for a Judicial Case Conference
A common mistake individuals make at a JCC is a lack of preparedness. They do not realize the importance of a JCC, and the positive impact it can have on their upcoming case. A JCC is not a forum to air grievances. Instead, it’s an opportunity to conduct productive dialogue and potentially reach an agreement that works for all parties.
Here are some practical steps you can take to prepare for a JCC.
Gather Financial Statements
Family law in BC requires that each party file a financial statement at least 7 days before the JCC is to take place. Financial statements are required so that the Judge or Master and the parties’ lawyers can understand the lay of the land and gain insights into important issues such as:
Adopt a Strategic Mindset
Family law is a collaborative effort where compromise can often lead to surprisingly positive outcomes for all parties. Accordingly, a JCC should not be approached with a combative mindset as that would only serve to waste everyone’s time. Instead, parties should arrive to the JCC with proposed solutions to issues in dispute and be prepared to meet in the middle on the issues.
Create a Judicial Case Conference Brief
A JCC brief acts as “cliffs notes” for the case. It quickly and briefly informs the Judge or Master and the parties’ lawyers of the facts of the dispute and allows them to quickly hone-in on areas that require work. The JCC brief should include the following information:
- basic facts about the parties, such as the date of marriage, separation, and names and birth dates of any children involved;
- issues pertaining to the case, such as property division, debt division, child and spousal support, parenting arrangements, etc.;
- issues in dispute and each party’s position on the issues; and
- each party’s proposed solution to the issues in dispute.
Learn More About Judicial Case Conferences
Interested in learning more about how to prepare for a Judicial Case Conference? Our expert team of family lawyers is standing by to assist. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!