The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) gathers law reform suggestions from the public, the government, and the legal profession as part of their review and recommendation process when they make suggestions to improve the law and legal system.
The past two months have seen two reports published – one Report for Discussion as well as one Final Report – and three additional reports are expected to be released in the next few months.
One critical aspect of ALRI’s work is engagement with the legal profession. If you haven’t already provided your feedback on the Report for Discussion or considered the recommendations in the Final Report, you are invited to do so now.
Today’s LESA blog provides a brief synopsis of ALRI’s two recent reports:
ALRI Report for Discussion 27 – Competence and Communication in the Alberta Evidence Act
On occasion, a court must determine whether a proposed witness is competent to give evidence. The question arises with child witnesses and may also arise for adults with cognitive impairment. Alberta legislation about competence has not kept pace with modern knowledge about children’s abilities and fails to address adults with cognitive impairment. It also has a gap affecting witnesses who use alternative means of communication. This Report for Discussion contains preliminary recommendations for updating Alberta legislation to address these issues.
ALRI’s Report for Discussion 27 addressing competency issues of a witness is now available. You can review the report and provide your feedback on these issues with this brief survey until December 1, 2015.
ALRI Operations Manager
ALRI Report 107 – Matrimonial Property Act: Valuation Date
The Alberta Law Reform Institute has published its recommendations on the question of the most workable date for the valuation of matrimonial property.
In 2005, the Court of Appeal in Hodgson v Hodgson 2005 ABCA 13 definitively held that the courts are “obliged to divide the matrimonial property as of the date of trial.” According to ALRI’s report, this principle can be problematic. Beginning in late 2013, ALRI began to look into this issue; it consulted with Alberta family law practitioners attending related LESA seminars and CBA meetings to gather their opinions and insights. It also looked to other Canadian jurisdictions, finding that the majority of them value matrimonial property as of the date of separation – not trial.
ALRI’s Matrimonial Property Act: Valuation Date, Final Report 107 (September 2015) represents its findings and, based on these, makes the following recommendations for amendments to the Matrimonial Property Act:
- Including a provision that spouses may agree on a valuation date,
- Providing for a default valuation date, to apply when parties do not agree — preferably the date of separation, and
- Adding changes in property value between valuation and distribution to the factors a court can consider in order property distribution (s 8).
Download the full ALRI report here.
If you are a family law practitioner, LESA is holding two upcoming programs that will include conversation about the potential practice implications of ALRI’s Final Report 107.
You can learn more or register online now to attend these programs: