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



Most lawyers think that they would never be careless enough to miss a limitation period. But sometimes your care may not be enough. And the need to file weeks before the time expires, has greatly increased.

Some limitation periods are quite short, much less than a year. The most common example is 6 months for commencing AND serving many types of judicial review applications. And for the new SafeRoads and Sovereignty legislation, 30 days. Some respondents exercise a right to refuse service of unfiled versions of documents. And judicial review papers are often much harder to prepare than a statement of claim. Many appeals are heard by the Court of King’s Bench, not by the Court of Appeal. Some appeals have very short time limits for appealing.

Recent Notices to the Profession on the King’s Bench website, and minutes of a December 9 2022 meeting with the Bar, suggest problems set out below.

Naming conventions on electronic filing matter a lot. Different clerks do different work or handle different types of document. A poor name can lead to significant delay.

At one time, if a limitation period was close, the lawyer or a trusted student or paralegal would personally go to the Clerk’s counter, get the document filed and paid for, and come back with the document bearing a filing stamp dated within the time limit. Now that is impossible for lawyers. Filing at the counter is forbidden then; it must be done electronically. There is no plan to restore in-person filing.

And at one time, if the Clerk was refusing a document for valid reasons, such as some information omitted, that could be quickly fixed on the spot, with a ballpoint pen. Or by seeing a Master immediately and getting an ex parte fiat. None of that is possible now.

There are two ways to file electronically in King’s Bench. One is by the Filing Digital Service site. Whether it will give a lawyer a written acknowledgment of filing the same day is not stated. But only certain types of document can be filed on that site.

For other types of document, or if one is not fully able to use the “FDS” system, one can file electronically via email. But a Notice to the Profession stresses that such email filing will probably not be dated the day that it is received. If the clerk’s office takes some days to process the document, it will NOT be backdated to the day of receipt. So a perfectly proper document sent in two days before the limitation expired, could well be shown as filed some days after the limitation period expired. (Filing often takes 2 or 3 days, in some places even 7.).

If you realize that you are nearing a deadline, you can also file a special request to ensure that the deadline will not be missed. But there are a number of ifs, ands, and buts attached to that process. This urgent procedure can only be used with email filing, NOT with the regular F.D.S. method of electronic filing. See the King’s Bench website under “Announcements/New Email-filing-procedure”, for an exact procedure. Note that the Clerks seem to regard 4:00 as closing time.

And of course if you do that and a statutory deadline is missed, even so, likely you still have no remedy, and your client will have a very promising cause of action against you.

Here is one moral from all this. Tell your clients in writing what limitation periods there are, and say that instructions and all information will be needed some weeks before that. You cannot guarantee successful, timely, valid filing otherwise.

That is especially true for anything needing a certificate of lis pendens and its filing in the Land Titles system, as is common with builders’ liens. The serious problems at Land Titles make it even harder to get a certificate of lis pendens. They are a double set of minefields. .

– 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.

Justice Côté recently retired from the Court of Appeal of Alberta and currently acts 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.