November 28 , 2023

Motions Fritter Away Time and Money

November 27 , 2023

Will Foreclosure History Repeat Itself?

November 21 , 2023

Rules of Court Bind Even the King's Bench

November 2, 2023

Records and Affidavit of Records

November 2 , 2023

Uncommon Law

October 20 , 2023

Expanding Judicial Review Evidence

June 22, 2023

Competition v. Benefits

June 19, 2023

Clogged Courts

June 12, 2023

Preparing Applications in Uncertain Conditions

May 8, 2023

Competence is a Delicate Flower

March 30 , 2023

Urgent! Very Hard to Meet a Limitation Period

March 13 , 2023

Parties to Planning Appeals

March 7 , 2023

Costs in Family Law Litigation

January 30 , 2023

Dodging Settlement Privilege

January 4 , 2023

Lurking Dangers and Errors

January 3 , 2023

Your Real Goals

December 5 , 2022

Contracts for Higher Costs

November 24 , 2022

Scope of Offers to Settle

October 13 , 2022

Checklist for Cross-Examination

September 16 , 2022

Reviewing Latest Changes

August 22 , 2022

First Steps in Problem Solving

July 28 , 2022

Checklist of Powerful Procedural Principles

March 22 , 2022

Repeating a Cross-Examination Question

January 25 , 2022

Enforcing Land Sales Becomes Easier

January 5 , 2022

Proving a Settlement After a Mediation

November 16, 2021

Types of Injunctions

October 1, 2021

Orders After Litigation is Over

August 11, 2021

Discoverability for Limitation Periods

August 5 , 2021

Releases of Claims

June 7 , 2021

Language Used Still Matters

May 17 , 2021

Serving Uncooperative People

April 15 , 2021

Death and After-Life of Contingency Agreements

February 22 , 2021

Legal Analysis

February 2 , 2021

Costs Clarified at Last

January 4 , 2021


December 10, 2020

Traps and Confusion in Service Times

November 24, 2020

Don't Cut Corners

October 2 , 2020

Consent Orders

August 4 , 2020

Electronic Hearings

July 21, 2020

Ceasing to Act

June 29, 2020

Writing Skills

June 29, 2020

Keeping Up With the Law

June 22, 2020

Assets as a Test for Security for Costs

June 19, 2020

What is This Case About?

June 11, 2020

Cross-Examining Child Witnesses

May 20 , 2020

Formal Offers

May 13 , 2020

Vexatious or Self-Represented Litigants

January 7, 2020

G.S.T. and Costs

December 20 , 2019

Electronically Navigating the

October 7 , 2019

Questioning is a Bad Word

July 29 , 2019

Dismissal for Delay

May 7 , 2019

Rule 4.31 Fallacies

March 18 , 2019

More Dangers in Oral Fee Agreements

February 11 , 2019

Weir-Jones Decisions

January 9 , 2019

Discouraging Settlements

November 30, 2018

European Court Helps You Twice?

November 23 , 2018

Courts Overruling Tribunals

November 16 , 2018

New Evidence on Appeal

October 30 , 2018

Schedule C's Role

July 17 , 2018

Loopholes in Enforcing Settlements

May 7 , 2018

Enforcement of Procedure Rules

April 16, 2018

Limping Lawsuits are Often

April 3 , 2018

Court of Appeal Tips for
Summary Decisions

March 19, 2018

Serious Dangers in Chambers

February 13 , 2018

Court Backlog

December 18 , 2017

Lowering the Status of Courts

September 15 , 2017

Access to Court Decisions

July 4 , 2017

Strictissimi Juris

June 14 , 2017

Why Don't Your Clients Settle?

June 5 , 2017

Gap in Rules About Parties

June 5, 2017

Personal Costs Against

April 26, 2017

Clogged Courts

April 11, 2017

Dismissal for Want of

January 6, 2017

Incomplete Disclosure

December 15, 2016


November 23, 2016

Is Contract Interpretation Law?


Côté’s Commentaries

© J.E. Côté 2016-2023



Often there are long waits (and complications) before an application is heard and decided in the Court of King’s Bench. That eats up a lot of time and money. Often the wait greatly favors a defendant, especially a defendant with a weak defence. If your client has an arguable lawsuit or defence and will be prejudiced by delay, the situation is bad, but not 100% hopeless. What can you do about that?

  1. Keep making reasonable, written suggestions and concessions to speed up the process. If your opponent is honest and dependable, even include litigation plans with deadlines. Keep updating those offers, to forestall any (probably unsound) suggestion that they were made too early in the suit. Try to make your suggestions comply with all the requirements for a formal settlement offer.

  2. Do the same thing with proposals to settle the whole lawsuit. If a procedural or other dispute arises and an application is needed or pending, do the same thing with that dispute.

  3. See if you can start with an application before a justice i.e. one outside the powers of an Applications Judge, as the lists for dates for the latter officers are often entirely full.

  4. Go more than halfway to meet any procedural disputes, and offer to your opponent several alternatives. During an examination for discovery (questioning), try to restate and reword your question if it is objected to. Be slow to object to a question from the other side. If you must object, suggest how the opponent could amend or rephrase the question to remove any objection. After the session is finished, go over any objections which you have made and see if you can withdraw some of the objections and furnish an answer or a partial answer. Offer to put under oath such answers.

  5. Be conservative in claiming or imposing or using any privilege or restrictions on any kind of disclosure. Work hard to ensure that your client digs up all relevant records or other information, and prepares very carefully for affidavits of records, or for being questioned, especially as a corporation’s representative. If you are in a hurry in this suit, make your affidavit of records informative. Do not use only two words (or zero words) to describe a big bundle. Always show which type of privilege applies to which records.

  6. Do not make or resist an application unless you are satisfied that your position is reasonable, fair, likeable, and legally sound. In other words, that you have well over a 50% chance. And make sure the topic is important. If you are junior, get advice from an experienced litigator.

  7. Use notices to admit facts, often accompanied by papers (such as copies of records) showing why the proposed admission is true. Draft the notices to make it hard for opposing counsel to give what in form is an answer, but in substance is not. (For clues about that, look at English precedents for interrogatories.)

  8. Negotiate agreeing to having an application promptly arbitrated by a sole respected lawyer or retired judge.

  9. Make use of mediation, judicial dispute resolution, a reference to a referee, or case management of the suit by a judge of some kind. The cost of mediation is usually comparatively low, even if the parties have to split a mediator’s fee.

  10. Try to shave an application down short enough to be heard in ordinary morning chambers, especially at the end of the list. For example, have a brief supporting written argument.

  11. See if your application can legitimately fit into the criteria for the Commercial List (which moves at a proper speed).

– Hon. J.E. Côté


The Commentaries are intended to call the attention of lawyers to promising or threatening developments in the law, in civil procedure, in developing their skills, or simply to describe something curious, funny or intriguing.

The Hon. Jean Côté retired from the Court of Appeal of Alberta and would be willing to act as an arbitrator, mediator, or referee under Rules 6.44 and 6.45 of the Alberta Rules of Court.

He may be contacted through Juriliber at:

email: or phone 780-424-5345.