Protective Orders

Law

The law in Alberta can protect victims of abuse. See the sections below for information about protective orders, including:

  • Alberta’s Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA)
  • Emergency Protection Orders and Queen’s Bench Protection Orders
  • Restraining orders, peace bonds, and no contact orders
  • Warrants permitting entry
  • Bail conditions
  • How protective orders may be different if you live on-reserve (information about the new Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act)
  • Enforcing protective orders
  • Extending, changing, or cancelling a protective order
  • Including pets in protective orders

Choose the Process tab above for forms and detailed information about the court process.

Please read “Who is this Information Page for?” below to make sure you are on the right page.

LegalAve provides general legal information, not legal advice. Learn more here.

Last Reviewed: June 2017
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Who is this Information Page for?

This Information Page contains information about protective orders in Alberta. It describes:

  • the different protective orders available to victims of family violence in Alberta;
  • the differences between these protective orders;
  • how to ask for a protective order against someone else; and
  • how to respond to someone else’s application for a protective order.

If you are not sure if you are experiencing family violence, see the What is Family Violence? Information Page.

If you are considering leaving a violent situation, see the Safety Planning & Preparing to Leave Information Page, which has information about things to consider before and after leaving an abusive relationship.

If you live on-reserve (whether you are Aboriginal or not), there are additional kinds of protective orders that can protect you in your on-reserve home and other on-reserve family property. However, the other protective orders described on this Information Page can also apply to you if you live on-reserve. For more information about your on-reserve-specific protection options, see the “Aboriginal matters and on-reserve considerations” section below and the Family Breakdown if you Live on Reserve Information Page.

In addition to protective orders, there are other things you may need to know about the legal system when dealing with family violence. For more information, see the following Information Pages.

Finally, remember that you are not alone. For places and contacts that can help with family violence in your community, see the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page.

You are currently on the Law tab of this Information Page, which has information on what Alberta law says about protective orders.

Click on the Process tab above for information about:

  • how to ask for a protective order; and
  • how to respond to someone else’s application for a protective order.

There is also important information in the Common Questions and Myths tabs above.

The first topic is What the words mean. Please read this section even if you think you already know what the words mean. In order to understand the resources on this page, you will need to understand the legal terms.

What the words mean

These words are not listed alphabetically—they are in the order that makes it easiest to understand the complete legal picture.

If you are looking for a specific term, you can use the Glossary, which is in alphabetical order.

family violence (also called “domestic violence” or “domestic abuse”)

Abuse of power by one person (the “abuser”) toward one or more other people that the abuser has a relationship with. It is a pattern of behaviours within a relationship of intimacy, dependency, and/or trust.

It is most common to think of family abuse happening in romantic relationships (such as dating, living together, and marriage). However, abuse can also occur in other relationships, such as those between parents and children, adult children and their parents (seniors), siblings, extended families, or people and their pets.

abuser

A person who uses their power in a relationship to control and/or harm a person with whom he or she has a relationship. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, or financial. Abusers can be anyone, whether a friend, parent, romantic partner, adult child, or caregiver.

victim

The person who is controlled and/or hurt by someone else (the “abuser”). Victims can be anyone who is in a relationship with the abuser, such as a child, an elder, or a romantic partner. Victims may also be called “survivors.”

Crown prosecutor (also called “Crown counsel” or “the Crown”)

In Canadian criminal law, this term is used to describe lawyers who represent the government in the legal action against a person who is accused of a crime.

Be Aware

You may have heard the term “district attorney” used to describe such lawyers. This is an American term and does not apply in Canada.

criminal law

The system of law that involves punishing people who do things that harm people or property, or threaten to harm people or property. Property includes pets.

civil law

The law that involves disputes between individuals, such as family law and personal injury law.

protective order

A court order to protect a victim of violence, abuse, or harassment. Protective orders can be part of the criminal law or the civil law.

The protective orders available in Alberta include:

  • Emergency Protection Orders, which you can apply for under Alberta’s Protection Against Family Violence Act;
  • Queen’s Bench Protection Orders, which you can apply for under Alberta’s Protection Against Family Violence Act;
  • Emergency Protection Orders under the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (this Act applies to people who live on First Nation reserves);
  • restraining orders;
  • peace bonds;
  • bail conditions; and
  • no contact orders.

claimant

A person who brings a “claim” against another person. A claim is a particular kind of court application. The claimant is one of the “parties” in the court application.

In situations of family violence, the claimant is the person who says that family violence has occurred and asks for some sort of protective order. This person does not have to be the victim of the family violence—he or she may be acting on behalf of the victim.

respondent

The person who has a court application brought against him or her. The respondent is one of the “parties” in a court application.

In situations of family violence, the “respondent” is the person who is accused of being abusive, and a “claimant” has asked a court for protection from the respondent.

the accused

A person who has had a criminal charge brought against him or her (but the charge has not yet been proven). In criminal cases, the terms “the accused” and “respondent” can be used to describe the same person.

restraining order

A civil court order that protects a victim of violence by keeping the abuser away from the victim. Restraining orders can be made against family members as well as non-family members (such as a neighbour): the claimant can make an application against anyone who has made him or her feel unsafe. This could include:

  • actions (such as violent behaviour); or
  • words (such as threats).

The terms of a restraining order can be very specific to each person’s situation.

For more information, see the “Restraining orders” section below.

peace bond

A criminal court order that requires the abuser to “keep the peace.” In other words, the person named on the peace bond must not get into any trouble or be charged with any crimes for a specific time period. The Court may add many terms to a peace bond to protect a victim of abuse, such as:

  • ordering that the abuser stay away from specific places (such as the victim’s workplace);
  • ordering that the abuser have no contact with the victim in any way; and
  • taking any firearms away from the abuser.

For more information, see the “Peace bonds” section below.

Emergency Protection Order (EPO)

A civil court order, given under the Alberta Protection Against Family Violence Act, that gives a victim of family violence immediate protection for up to 9 working days. An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) can order the abuser to:

  • leave the family home;
  • not communicate in any way with the victim or the victim’s family; and
  • stay away from other specific places (such as the victim’s workplace).

An EPO can also give the police the authority to take any weapons used by the abuser to threaten or commit family violence. After 9 working days, there will be a review hearing to determine next steps.

For more information, see the “Emergency Protection Orders” section below.

Be Aware

If you live on-reserve, there is a different Emergency Protection Order described in the federal Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (FHRMIRA). On this website, this kind of order is referred to as a “FHRMIRA EPO.” However, in Alberta, it is currently not possible to apply for a FHRMIRA EPO. This is because there have not yet been judges appointed to hear such FHRMIRA applications.

Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO)

A civil court order, given under the Alberta Protection Against Family Violence Act, that provides long-term protection for a victim of family violence. Unlike an Emergency Protection Order, it is not meant for immediate and urgent protection. A Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO) can order the abuser to:

  • leave the family home;
  • not communicate in any way with the victim or the victim’s family; and
  • stay away from other specific places (such as the victim’s workplace).

A QBPO can also give the police the authority to take any weapons used by the abuser to threaten or commit family violence. The abuser may also be ordered to:

  • pay the victim for financial losses caused by the abuse;
  • attend counselling; and/or
  • allow the victim to use certain family property.

For more information, see the “Queen’s Bench Protection Orders” section below.

no contact order

An order that results from a criminal proceeding, which states that one person cannot have any communication or contact with another named person. This order may be brought against:

  • someone who has only been accused of a crime (but not yet convicted); or
  • someone who has been convicted of a crime (also called an “offender”).

For more information, see the “No contact orders” section below.

Be Aware

In a sense, all protective orders describe a situation of “no contact.” Sometimes, the term “no contact order” is also used to describe different kinds of civil protective orders (such as Emergency Protection Orders or restraining orders). However, on this Information Page, we use the term “no contact order” only to refer to the specific kind of order that results from criminal proceedings.

warrant permitting entry

A warrant permitting entry is a way for concerned family members or loved ones to check in on someone they believe might be a victim of family violence. If a warrant permitting entry is ordered, a police officer is given permission by the court to enter a specific location to search for and help a victim. The police officer can then remove the victim from the location if the victim gives his or her permission.

For more information, see the “Warrants permitting entry” section below.

party

Any person involved in a dispute. It can also refer to each of the people who sign a contract.

spouse

A person who is legally married to another person.

partner

A person who is in a domestic relationship with another person. This term refers to people in romantic relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual, as well as non-romantic domestic relationships.

Adult Interdependent Relationship (AIR)

The term used in Alberta to describe what many people might think of as a “common-law” relationship.

A person is in an Adult Interdependent Relationship if he or she has been living with and in a “relationship of interdependence” with another person:

  • for 3 years; or
  • for less than 3 years if they have signed an Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement; or
  • for less than 3 years if they have a child together (by birth or adoption).

A “relationship of interdependence” is a relationship where the partners are not married but they:

  • share one another’s lives;
  • are emotionally committed to one another; and
  • function as an economic and domestic unit.

The relationship does not have to be romantic or sexual to meet these requirements; it can be non-romantic (also called “platonic”).

exclusive possession

The right of one spouse or partner to have sole possession of the home the couple once shared. This means that the other spouse or partner cannot continue living there. This can also include household goods.

affidavit

A written statement that is sworn, or affirmed, to be true, and used as evidence in legal proceedings.

If you swear or affirm that something you wrote is true, it may also be called a “sworn” statement.

“swearing” or “affirming” something

When you “swear” something, you are making a promise that what you are saying is true. This promise is often made over an object that is holy to you (such as the Bible, the Torah, or the Koran), or in the name of a deity you believe in (such as God or Allah). This is also called taking “an oath.” For people who do not want to swear over a holy book or in the name of a deity, this promise is called “affirming.”

If you swear that something you wrote is true, it may be called a “sworn” statement.

service

A formal process of delivering documents to another party in a court action. There are important rules about serving documents that must be followed.

enforcement

Forcing something to be done or forcing someone to act in a specific way because of a law, rule, or court order.

breach

The act of not following a court order (whether on purpose or by accident). Depending on the order, there are different consequences for breaching a court order.

contempt of court

Any action that involves:

  • purposely not following a court order,
  • behaving badly in court in a way that disrupts the court’s proceedings, or
  • behaving badly in court by disrespecting the judge or others in the courtroom.

If this happens, a judge may give an order that “finds” or “holds” a person “in contempt of court.” If someone is found in contempt of court, he or she may be fined, imprisoned, or both.

ex parte

A Latin legal term used to describe situations where someone applies for something in court that involves another party, but does not tell the other party about the application in advance. This is usually only done in specific circumstances, such as when the person applying fears for his or her safety. Sometimes, this is also called “without notice.”

federal law

Laws that are made by the Government of Canada and apply to all Canadians, no matter which province they live in. Examples include: the Income Tax Act, the Criminal Code of Canada, and the Immigration Act.

provincial law

Laws that are made by a provincial or territorial government. In Alberta, provincial laws are made by the Government of Alberta and apply only in Alberta. Examples include: the Alberta Adult Interdependent Relationship Act, the Alberta Family Law Act, and the Alberta Wills and Succession Act.

jurisdiction

The right or ability of a government or a court to make decisions about things. This term describes either:

  • a particular government’s right, power, or authority to make laws; or
  • a particular court’s authority to deal with an issue.

The Government of Canada has “federal jurisdiction”—the laws the Government of Canada makes apply to everyone in Canada. On the other hand, the provinces and territories of Canada have “provincial jurisdiction”—the laws those governments make apply only within that province or territory. Sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 outlines which level of government has jurisdiction over what areas.

judge

A person appointed by the government to hear and decide cases in a court of law.

A judge may be called different things depending on which court you are in.

  • In the Provincial Court of Alberta, this person is still called a “Judge.”
  • In the Court of Queen’s Bench, this person is either a “Master” or a “Justice.”

justice of the peace

Citizens appointed by the Cabinet of the Alberta government to be “judicial officers” in the Provincial Court of Alberta. Justices of the peace can hear only certain kinds of matters (including granting Emergency Protection Orders), but they cannot hear and do all of the things that a judge of the Provincial Court can do.

The laws that may apply to you

As you work through and learn more about family violence, you may wish to read the laws (also called “statutes” or “acts”) that apply. The laws included on this Information Page are:


Web Criminal Code
Government of Canada
English

Web Family Violence Laws
Government of Canada
English

Web Les lois sur la violence familiale
Government of Canada
French

Web Alberta Rules of Court
Government of Alberta
English

When reading laws, you also need to know about the “regulations” associated with those laws. Each of the links above takes you to a page that lists the laws as well as the regulations that go with them. For more information on laws and regulations, see the Our Legal System Information Page.

If you plan on representing yourself in court, you will also need to know about “case law.” In general, “case law” refers to the idea that it is up to judges hearing individual cases to decide:

  1. the exact meaning of the words in the laws (called “interpretation”); and
  2. how that meaning applies to the people in those cases (called “application”).  

This means that what happens in other cases can affect what happens in your case. It also means that there are cases decided before that govern how cases are decided now. For more information on case law, see the Our Legal System Information Page and the Educating Yourself: Legal Research Information Page.

The following resource lists some of the leading cases in family law (including one about Emergency Protection Orders).

The difference between civil law and criminal law and why it matters

Family law is generally considered a “civil law” issue. However, in situations of family violence, civil law overlaps with criminal law. Both kinds of law have ways to try to help victims of abuse.

Criminal law is the system of law that involves punishing people who do things that harm, or threaten to harm, the safety of the public (whether it is one person’s safety or the safety of many people). It involves matters listed as “crimes” in the Criminal Code of Canada.

Civil law is the law that involves disputes between individuals, such as contract law and family law. Civil law can also include “quasi-criminal” matters.

Quasi-criminal matters are legal processes that give a court the right to punish someone for their actions even if those actions are not listed as a crime in the Criminal Code. For example: a person who has an Emergency Protection Order or restraining order brought against him or her would be involved in a quasi-criminal proceeding. (There is more information on both of those protective orders below.)

For information about what kinds of abuse are considered “crimes” in Canada, see the following resources.

Web It's Not Allowed
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web What does the law say about... (different types of abuse)
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English


Both criminal and civil law can help protect against family violence

There are laws to protect victims of violence under both civil and criminal law. These different laws often overlap in family violence situations.

Civil law

If someone is abused by their partner or family member, then under civil law, the victim can apply for:

  • a restraining order;
  • a Queen’s Bench Protection Order; or
  • an Emergency Protection Order.

These would keep the abuser away from the victim’s home and workplace.

Also under civil law, a victim may be able to sue the abuser for the financial losses caused by the abuse.

These civil remedies can be granted whether or not the abuser has been charged with a crime, and even if an accused person has been found “not guilty” in a related criminal proceeding. However, the parties involved are responsible for asking for the civil law to help in this way. For example: a person must apply for a restraining order. It will not just be ordered by a judge without the victim asking for it.

Criminal law

In addition to the civil remedies described above, the police and the Crown may also press criminal charges against the abuser. If the abuser is found guilty, they would be held responsible for their actions in some way—often by paying a fine or going to jail.

Civil remedies are not replacements for criminal charges. If a crime is committed (such as an assault), and if there is enough evidence, the police and the Crown may charge the abuser. This can happen even if the victim doesn’t want them to. This is because criminal law is in place to protect the public (not just the victim). Part of that protection is making sure that laws are followed. In other words: there can be both civil and criminal consequences for the same actions or behaviour.

The differences in the role of the claimant (victim)

In civil proceedings about family violence, the parties are the person making the claim for the protective order and the person responding to that claim. In other words, the parties are the people suing, and those being sued. Each party may also have a lawyer. The parties are the ones making the decisions about how they want the case to proceed.

In criminal proceedings, on the other hand, the parties involved are “the accused” (who can have a lawyer) and “the Crown.” The Crown prosecutor is the lawyer for society—not the lawyer for the victim. As a result, the police and the Crown:

  • may press criminal charges against someone even if the victim does not want them to; or
  • may not press charges against someone, even if the victim wants them to.    

The Crown prosecutor makes the decisions about how to proceed with the case on behalf of the government. Even if the victim is also the partner/spouse or family member of the accused, the victim is not one of the parties. In other words, the victim does not make decisions about how to proceed. At most, the victim is a witness for the Crown. The Crown may discuss the matter with the victim before making a decision (and often does), but they are not required to do so.

This can also have an effect long after the court hearing is over. For example, the abuser’s bail conditions (also called “conditions of release”) could change without the victim being notified.

As a result, victims may also want to have a civil protective order in place, even if criminal charges have been laid. Also, victims may want to make sure that they stay in contact with the Crown and/or the abuser’s probation officer, which may help keep the victim aware of any changes.

The differences in the “burden of proof”

When you are asking for protection from abuse, you need to know whether you are asking for protection under civil law or criminal law. This is because a judge makes their decisions differently for each kind of law. This is called the difference in the “burden of proof.”

Under criminal law, the Crown must prove to the judge that the facts of the case show that the accused person is guilty of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In other words, there could be no reasonable doubt in the mind of a reasonable person that the accused did what they are accused of—the facts are such that there is no other reasonable explanation. The judge (or the jury) must be almost completely certain that the accused person is guilty. This is generally true in quasi-criminal matters as well.

Under civil law, the judge must be sure that the facts presented are true “on a balance of probabilities.” This means that the judge must be more sure than not—they must think that the facts presented by the claimant are probably true. The Court then makes its decisions based whose evidence it feels is more believable.

This difference in the burden of proof often also affects how police may treat a “breach” of a protective order (that is, if a protective order is not followed). Specifically:

  • If the breach will result in a criminal charge, the police will want to be sure they can prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt” before they arrest the person accused of breaching the protective order.
  • If the breach will only result in civil penalties, the police will want to be sure that they can prove the breach “on a balance of probabilities.”

More information

For more information about how civil and criminal law can help victims of abuse, including information about the differences between the two types of law, see the following resources.

Web Introduction to Canadian Law
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Battered Women
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English

Web Civil and Criminal Cases
Government of Canada
English




Web What is the difference between criminal and civil court?
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
English

Web Criminal and Civil Law
Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association
English

French resources:

Web Les affaires civiles et les affaires pénales
Government of Canada
French


Web Quelle est la différence entre un tribunal criminel et un tribunal civil ?
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
French

Web Droit civil et droit criminel
Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association
French
Alberta’s two-court system

As mentioned above, different laws address family violence in different ways. Some may use the criminal court system, while others use civil court system.

In addition to this, each court system has two different levels of court:

  • the Alberta Provincial Court (the lower court); and
  • the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (the higher court).

For some issues in family law, the parties may be able to “choose” which level of court they want to use. At other times, there may be no choice because only one level of court can make orders on certain topics.

Protective orders are made in both courts, but which court you must use will depend on which protective order you are asking for. On this Information Page, if certain options about protective orders are only available to you in one of the two courts, we will note it below with one of these icons:

Provincial Court

 

Queen's Bench

 

If you are dealing with family law matters at the same time as getting a protective order, you may find that your family matters allow you to choose the level of court (Provincial Court or the Court of Queen’s Bench). Because it is always easier and less expensive to keep all matters in the same level of court, this may affect which court that you choose to deal with both your protective order and your family law matters.

Be Aware

The Alberta courts prefer to keep all matters relating to one family within one court. As a result, you may be encouraged to handle all of your issues in one level of court.

If you are dealing with family law matters at the same time as you are learning about protective orders, you may want to read more about the different courts and how the requirements and assistance are different for family matters. For more information, see the following Information Pages.

If you were not married, or married but plan to use the Family Law Act, see:

If you were married and plan to use the Divorce Act, see:

If you are married and unsure which law to use to deal with your family matters, see the “Using the Divorce Act or the Family Law Act: What to consider” section of the Ending a Married Relationship under the Divorce Act Information Page.

What exactly are protective orders?

A protective order is a court order to protect a victim of violence or abuse. There are many different types of abuse (such as physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, and financial). For more information about the different kinds of abuse and how to recognize it, see the What is Family Violence? Information Page.

In Alberta, there are different types of protective orders available for different situations. The following resource has a chart that describes these different options.

PDF No Contact Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Protective orders are used to protect the victim from future violence. They are not meant to “punish” an abuser for their actions.

If you get a protective order:

  • criminal charges may still be laid against the abuser; or
  • criminal charges may not be laid against the abuser (even though you were granted a protective order).

This because the civil law and the criminal law are different processes. For more information about that, see the section above called “The difference between civil law and criminal law and why it matters.”

Be Aware

Even if a court grants a protective order, it does not mean the abuser will necessarily follow the order. Make sure you take practical steps to protect yourself as well. See the Safety Planning & Preparing to Leave Information Page for more information.

Civil protective orders

In Alberta there several kinds of civil protective orders.

Protective orders under Alberta’s Protection Against Family Violence Act

In Alberta, there is a civil law that is meant specifically to protect victims of family violence. It is the Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA).

There are 2 protective orders available under PAFVA:

  • Emergency Protection Order (EPO): This is a protective order that gives the claimant and certain family members immediate protection for a short period of time. When you ask for an EPO, you do not have to tell the other party that you are doing so.
  • Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO): This is a protective order that gives the claimant and certain family members longer-term protection than an EPO. QBPOs can also have broader terms than those in an EPO. When you ask for a QBPO, you have to tell the other party that you are doing so.

Each of these PAFVA protective orders are described in more detail in the “Emergency Protection Orders” and “Queen’s Bench Protection Orders” sections below.

Remember

Getting a protective order under PAFVA does not mean that criminal charges won’t also be laid against the abuser—that is up to the police and the Crown prosecutor to decide.

Warrants permitting entry under Alberta’s Protection Against Family Violence Act

Warrants permitting entry are not protective orders, but they can lead to protective orders if needed. A warrant permitting entry allows a police officer to go into a specific location to search for and help a victim of family violence. A warrant permitting entry is requested by concerned family members or loved ones who suspect someone is being abused.

Warrants permitting entry are described in more detail in the “Warrants permitting entry” section below.

Restraining orders

A restraining order is a civil court order that protects a victim of violence by keeping the abuser away from the victim. Restraining orders can be made against family members as well as non-family members (such as a neighbour). The claimant can make an application against anyone who has made them feel unsafe. This could include actions (such as violent behaviour) or words (such as threats).

Restraining orders are described in more detail in the “Restraining orders” section below.

Remember

Getting a restraining order does not mean that criminal charges won’t also be laid against the abuser—that is up to the police and the Crown prosecutor to decide.

Emergency Protection Orders under the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act

As described above, an “Emergency Protection Order” is a kind of order under Alberta’s Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA). However, “Emergency Protection Order” is also used to describe a different (but similar!) order available under the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (FHRMIRA). This Emergency Protection Order is specifically for victims who live on-reserve.

On this website, when we refer to an Emergency Protection Order that is granted under the Protection Against Family Violence Act, we will identify it as a “PAFVA EPO” or simply an “EPO.” Similarly, when we refer to an Emergency Protection Order that is granted under the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (FHRMIRA), we will identify it as a “FHRMIRA EPO.

FHRMIRA EPOs are described in more detail in the “Emergency Protection Orders on-reserve under the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act” section below.

Remember

Getting a FHRMIRA EPO does not mean that criminal charges won’t also be laid against the abuser—that is up to the police and the Crown prosecutor to decide.

Criminal protective orders

In Alberta there are several kinds of criminal protective orders.

Peace bonds

A peace bond is a criminal court order that requires the abuser to “keep the peace.” In other words, the person named on the peace bond must not get into any trouble or be charged with any crimes for a specific time period (up to one year). Although the order is made in criminal court, there do not have to be criminal charges laid for a peace bond to be ordered. In fact, a peace bond may be ordered instead of a criminal charge being laid.

The Court may add many terms to a peace bond to protect a victim of abuse, such as:

  • ordering that the abuser stay away from specific places (for example, the victim’s workplace);
  • ordering that the abuser have no contact with the victim in any way; and
  • taking any firearms away from the abuser.

Peace bonds are very similar to bail conditions (see below), but they do not necessarily have the criminal charges that lead to bail conditions.

Peace bonds are described in more detail in the “Peace bonds” section below.

Remember

Peace bonds can be ordered even if you have been given one of the civil protective orders described above.

No contact orders

A no contact order is generally not quite as broad as a peace bond. A no contact order results from a criminal proceeding and states that one person cannot have any communication or contact with another named person. This order may be brought against:

  • someone who has only been accused of a crime (but not yet convicted); or
  • someone who has been convicted of a crime (also called an “offender”).

For example:

  • If the accused person has been arrested and is released until their court appearance, the police can order them to not go near someone or communicate with that person. In such a case, the no contact order will only be in place until the case against the accused is heard in court.
  • A no contact order can also be ordered if the accused is convicted, as part of a final sentence for a criminal offence.

If the no contact order is breached: 

  • the accused/offender can be taken back to court for further punishment (and possibly be put back into custody); and
  • they may also be charged with a new criminal offence for breaching the no contact order.

No contact orders are described in more detail in the “No contact orders” section below.

Remember

No contact orders can be ordered even if you have been given one of the civil protective orders described above.

Bail conditions

The term “bail” refers to an accused person being released from jail until their criminal court date. In Canada, the accused will usually be released unless:

  • the Court thinks that they may not attend their criminal court hearing; or
  • keeping the accused person in jail is necessary to protect the public.

However, the Court often adds “conditions” to bail. These conditions can include:

  • reporting to authorities (for example, the police or a probation officer);
  • staying in the province;
  • staying away from a specific person or place; and
  • no contact orders.

Breaking bail conditions (also called a “breach” of bail) is a criminal offence. An accused person who is arrested and charged with breaching bail conditions will be held in jail until a “bail revocation hearing” is held. This is a hearing that will decide whether or not bail should be taken away.

Bail conditions are described in more detail in the “Bail conditions” section below.

Remember

Bail conditions can be ordered even if you have been given one of the civil protective orders described above.

More information

For an overview of the different kinds of protective orders, see the following resources.

PDF No Contact Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Presentation Protection Orders 101 (revision 2017)
Government of Alberta
English



Web Protection Against Family Violence Act – The Basics
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web PAFVA – Les bases
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
French

Web Keeping the Abuser Away
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English

Web Protective Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Legal Issues
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English

PDF Victims of Family Violence: Information and Rights
Government of Alberta
English

Web Legal Protection Orders
YWCA Canada
English

Web Know Your Rights
Government of Alberta
English
Emergency Protection Orders under the Protection Against Family Violence Act

What is an Emergency Protection Order?

An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) under the Alberta Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA) is a court order that gives the claimant and anyone living with the claimant (such as their children) immediate protection for a short period of time.

PAFVA EPOs are intended for urgent situations where the claimant fears for their safety. Claimants can apply for an EPO without giving notice to the person they are seeking protection from. If your situation is not an emergency, consider applying for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order instead—see the “Queen’s Bench Protection Orders” section below for more information.

Be Aware

A PAFVA EPO can be granted with or without criminal charges being laid. The police are still free to lay charges at any time.

If an EPO is granted, it will be in effect for up to 9 working days. At the time it is granted, a Queen’s Bench review will be scheduled to reconsider the matter. That hearing can be no later than 9 working days after the EPO is granted.

See the following resources to learn about:

  • Who can apply for protection under PAFVA (who is a “family” member)?
  • When can you apply for an EPO?
  • What types of protection can an EPO provide?
  • How can you apply for an EPO?
  • How long does an EPO last?
  • What happens at a review hearing?
  • What happens if the EPO is not followed?   
PDF What you need to know about... Emergency Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Protection Against Family Violence Act Guide
Government of Alberta
English

Web Protective Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Protection Against Family Violence Act – The Basics
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web PAFVA – Les bases
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
French


Presentation Protection Orders 101 (revision 2017)
Government of Alberta
English
Be Aware

The definition of family member does not include friends, roommates, or couples who have never lived together and have no children together. As a result, it may not be possible for such people to get an EPO, but you can still ask. For those cases, one of the other protective orders (restraining orders, peace bonds, or no contact orders) may be an option—see the sections below for more information. The following resource describes how Alberta courts have defined “family member” under PAFVA.

 

Victims must also follow the terms of the court order. If you have a PAFVA EPO against someone else, do not have contact with them. If you want to get back together, you can apply to the court to have the Order removed before contacting the respondent. If you breach the order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future.

Who can help victims apply for a PAFVA EPO?

There are many organizations across Alberta that help people who want to apply for a protective order. These organizations can explain your legal options to you. They may also be able to help with the paperwork and court hearings.

Tip

There is more information about how to apply for an EPO on the Process tab of this Information Page.

For more information about help to apply for an EPO, see the following resources.


Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Victim Service Units
Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association
English

Web Help for victims of crime
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Criminal Harassment
Edmonton Police Service
English
 

For other organizations that can help with family violence issues (including shelters and financial assistance), see the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page.

Situations of severe violence

If the abuser has a history of severe violence and/or mental instability, a PAFVA EPO may not be appropriate because the abuser would likely not follow the EPO. In such cases, victims should plan for their safety and consider going to an emergency shelter. There are many community agencies that can help.

For more information, see the Safety Planning Information Page and the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page.

In very specific circumstances, police may be able to take the abuser into custody based on the powers granted in the Mental Health Act. For more information, contact your local police or a community organization that handles domestic violence—see the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page.

More information about PAFVA EPOs

For more information about applying for a PAFVA EPO, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

The following resources have additional information about PAFVA Emergency Protection Orders.

PDF Family Law in Alberta: Legal Information for Frontline Service Providers
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 17-18.




Web Keeping the Abuser Away
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See “Protective Orders under Provincial Laws.”

PDF The Protection Against Family Violence Act
Government of Alberta
English

Web Battered Women
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Protection Orders in Dangerous Circumstances
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Emergency Protection Order (EPO)
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

PDF Emergency Protection Orders (Protection Against Family Violence Act)
Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society
English


Web Relationship Violence
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams
English

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English

Audio/Web Restraining or Protection Orders
Calgary Legal Guidance
English

Web Domestic violence
Calgary Police Service
English

Audio Protective Orders 101 – Episode 1
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
Listen to the first half of the recording.
Queen’s Bench Protection Orders under the Protection Against Family Violence Act

What is a Queen’s Bench Protection Order?

A Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO) is a court order that provides long-term protection for a victim of family violence. In many ways, the protections of a QBPO are similar to the Emergency Protection Order (EPO) described above, but a QBPO is not intended for immediate protection of a victim of abuse.

A QBPO can provide even broader protection than an EPO. It can include anything else that the Court feels is necessary to protect you and your family’s safety. For example: the respondent may be ordered to pay you for financial losses caused by the abuse.

If a QBPO is granted, it will be in effect for up to one year. At the end of that time, the claimant can go back to court to request that the QBPO be extended for further one-year periods.

See the following resources to learn about:

  • Who can apply for protection under PAFVA (who is a “family” member)?
  • When can you apply for a QBPO?
  • What types of protection can a QBPO provide?
  • How is a QBPO different from an EPO?
  • How can you get a QBPO?
  • How long does an QBPO last?
  • What happens if the QBPO is not followed?
PDF What you need to know about... Queen's Bench Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Protection Against Family Violence Act Guide
Government of Alberta
English
Start at p. 14.

Web Protective Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Protection Against Family Violence Act – More Information
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web PAFVA – Plus d’informations
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
French

Presentation Protection Orders 101 (revision 2017)
Government of Alberta
English
Be Aware

The definition of family member does not include friends, roommates, or couples who have never lived together and have no children together. As a result, it may not be possible for such people to get a QBPO, but you can still ask. For those cases, one of the other protective orders (restraining orders, peace bonds, or no contact orders) may be an option—see the sections below for more information. The following resource describes how Alberta courts have defined “family member” under PAFVA.

 

Victims must also follow the terms of the court order. If you have a QBPO against someone else, do not have contact with them. If you want to get back together, you can apply to the court to have the Order removed before contacting the respondent. If you breach the order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future.

Who can help victims apply for a QBPO?

There are many organizations across Alberta that help people who want to apply for a protective order. These organizations can explain your legal options to you. They may also be able to help with the paperwork and court hearings.

Tip

There is more information about how to apply for an QBPO on the Process tab of this Information Page.

For more information about help to apply for an QBPO, see the following resources.


Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Victim Service Units
Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association
English

Web Help for victims of crime
Government of Alberta
English

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English

For other organizations that can help with family violence issues (including shelters and financial assistance), see the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page.

More information about Queen’s Bench Protection Orders

For information about applying for a PAFVA QBPO, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

The following resources have additional information about Queen’s Bench Protection Orders.

PDF Family Law in Alberta: Legal Information for Frontline Service Providers
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 18.

Web Protection Orders in Dangerous Circumstances
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Battered Women
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Relationship Violence
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams
English

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English

Audio/Web Restraining or Protection Orders
Calgary Legal Guidance
English
Warrants permitting entry under the Protection Against Family Violence Act

What is a warrant permitting entry?

A warrant permitting entry is a way for concerned loved ones to check in on someone they believe might be a victim of family violence. A worried loved one can contact the police to inform them of the situation and their concerns. If the police think that there is a good reason (this is called “reasonable and probable grounds”) to believe that the victim is being kept from contacting the person who informed the police, or is the victim of family violence, the police can ask the Court for a warrant permitting entry.

If a warrant permitting entry is ordered, a police officer is given permission by the court to enter a specific location to search for and help a victim. The police officer can then remove the victim from the location if the victim gives their permission.

For more information, see the following resources.

Web Relationship Violence
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams
English

Web Protective Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

How can you get a warrant permitting entry?

A judge or justice of the peace can grant a warrant permitting entry immediately over the phone. If you think you need a warrant permitting entry, contact the police.

Emergency Protection Orders on-reserve under the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act

The Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (FHRMIRA) was passed several years ago. Under this law, a married or common-law partner who is living on-reserve will be able to apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) if there is family violence, and if there is a need for immediate protection.

However, before that can happen, judges to hear the applications must be appointed. This has not yet happened.

As a result, in Alberta it is currently not possible to apply for Emergency Protection Orders under this law.

More information about FHRMIRA EPOs

For more information about EPOs under the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, see the following resources. You may also want to learn about other on-reserve issues that may come up—see the Family Breakdown if You Live on Reserve Information Page.

PDF Matrimonial Real Property Rights on Your Reserve
Centre of Excellence for Matrimonial Real Property
English

Web Understanding family property rights on reserves
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Your home on reserve: Who can stay in the family home on reserve?
Legal Services Society
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.





Web Frequently Asked Questions
Centre of Excellence for Matrimonial Real Property
English

Video Division of Family Property on Reserve When a Relationship Ends (part 2)
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Presentation The Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Courthouse Libraries BC
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Your Rights on Reserve: A Legal Tool-kit for Aboriginal Women in BC
Atira Women's Resource Society
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more hereSee Chapter 11.
Restraining orders

What is a restraining order?

A restraining order is a civil court order that protects a victim of violence by keeping the abuser away from the victim. Restraining orders can be made against either:

  • family members; or
  • non-family members (such as a neighbour, friend, or roommate).

The victim can apply for a restraining order against anyone who has made them feel unsafe. This could be due to:

  • actions (such as violent behaviour); and/or
  • words (such as threats).

Restraining orders are a good option for couples who are dating but not living together. This is because such a relationship does not count as a “family” relationship under the Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA). Therefore, the victim would not be able to apply for a PAFVA EPO or QBPO.

Restraining orders are intended to protect victims of all kinds of violence (not just family violence). As a result, it may not provide all of the protections that a victim of family violence might need. For example, restraining orders cannot be used for:

  • any sort of financial compensation (unlike a QBPO); or
  • settling any issues about the use of shared property.

See the following resources to learn about:

  • What types of protection can a restraining order provide?
  • When can you apply for a restraining order?
  • How can you apply for a restraining order?
  • How long can a restraining order last?
  • What happens if the restraining order is not followed?
PDF What you need to know about... Restraining Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Protective Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Protection Orders in Dangerous Circumstances
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Restraining Orders
Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society
English

More information about restraining orders

For detailed information about applying for a restraining order, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

The following resources have additional information about restraining orders.

Web Battered Women
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Your Legal Options.”

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English

Audio/Web Restraining or Protection Orders
Calgary Legal Guidance
English

Web Assault
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Legal Options Available to the Victim.”

Audio Protective Orders 101 – Episode 1
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
Listen to the second half of the recording.

Presentation Protection Orders 101 (revision 2017)
Government of Alberta
English

Presentation Protection Orders
YWCA Canada
English

Web Getting a protection order
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Restraining Orders and Peace Bonds
Legal Line
English
This is a private source. Learn more here.

PDF Restraining Orders
Bow Valley Victim Services Association
English


PDF Fiche d'information sur les ordonnances de ne pas faire
Luke's Place
French
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.
Peace bonds

What is a peace bond?

A peace bond is a criminal court order that requires the abuser to “keep the peace.” In other words, the person named on the peace bond must not get into any trouble or be charged with any crimes for a specific time period (up to one year). Although the order is made in criminal court, a peace bond is not a criminal charge. There do not have to be criminal charges laid for a peace bond to be ordered. In fact, a peace bond may be ordered instead of a criminal charge being laid.

Remember

Because peace bonds are granted by criminal courts, the Court must be certain “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the abuser will harm the victim. This is a higher standard than that required by a civil court for a civil protective order. For more information about the different standards required in criminal and civil courts, see the section above called “The difference between civil law and criminal law and why it matters.”

Peace bonds are very similar to bail conditions (described below), but they do not necessarily have the criminal charges that lead to bail conditions.

If someone wants to request that a peace bond be ordered against someone else, they would have to contact the police with a criminal complaint about the abuser. The police will investigate the complaint. There are no fees, and the claimant does not need to have a lawyer.

If the police press charges for a crime, the government assigns a lawyer to argue the case (this is called “prosecuting” the case). This assigned lawyer is called the “Crown prosecutor.” The Crown prosecutor is not the lawyer for the victim. Instead, they are acting on behalf of the government and for the public good. Therefore, once the process has been started, the victim does not make decisions about what happens with the case. However, the Crown prosecutor will consider the victim’s wishes and safety when making their arguments.

More information about peace bonds

For more information about peace bonds, see the following resources.

PDF What you need to know about... Peace Bonds
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Protective Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Presentation Protection Orders 101 (revision 2017)
Government of Alberta
English

PDF Peace Bonds
Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society
English

Web Peace Bonds
Family Law Nova Scotia
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Peace Bonds
Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Peace Bond or a Restraining Order
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

PDF Do you have a court order?: Court Order Breach
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

PDF Breach
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

Audio/Web Peace Bonds
Calgary Legal Guidance
English

Web Keeping the Abuser Away
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See “Protective Orders under the Criminal Code of Canada.”

Web Battered Women
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English

Web Assault
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Legal Options Available to the Victim.”

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English
See “Peace bond.”

Audio/Web Restraining or Protection Orders
Calgary Legal Guidance
English
See “Peace Bond.”

Presentation Protection Orders
YWCA Canada
English

Web Protection Orders – Part 3: A Basic Guide to Peace Bonds
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Getting a protection order
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Restraining Orders and Peace Bonds
Legal Line
English

Web Peace Bonds & Restraining Orders
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Engagement de ne pas troubler le public et ordonnance d’interdiction de communiquer
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
French
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF The Witness and the Justice System in Alberta
Government of Alberta
English

Audio Protective Orders 101 – Episode 2
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
No contact orders

What is a no contact order?

A “no contact order” is an option for victims if a criminal charge has been laid (such as assault, stalking, or threats). In these cases, the abuser may be charged and released from jail on bail, but the victim may request that the abuser only be released if they are ordered to have no contact with the victim. This condition may be in place until the accused person’s trial is over. If the abuser is found guilty at their trial, a no contact order may be included as part of the abuser’s sentence.

A no contact order will prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim in any way, including:

  • in person;
  • phone or text message;
  • online; or
  • through indirect contact (that is, asking someone else to contact the victim for him or her).

How do you get a no contact order?

If a victim of abuse wants to request a no contact order as part of the abuser’s release conditions, they must tell the Crown prosecutor about their concerns.

What happens if the no contact order is not followed?

If a court order is not followed, this is called “breaching” a court order. The consequences of breaching a no contact order could include being arrested and held in custody until the next court appearance.

For more information, see the following resources.

PDF Do you have a court order?: Court Order Breach
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

PDF Breach
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

More information about no contact orders

For more information about no contact orders, see the following resources.

Web No-Contact Orders
Government of Canada
English

Web Ordonnances de non communication
Government of Canada
French

PDF No Contact Order
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

Web Keeping the Abuser Away
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See “Protective Orders under the Criminal Code of Canada.”

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English
See “Bail conditions or criminal orders.”

Web Battered Women
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
    
PDF The Witness and the Justice System in Alberta
Government of Alberta
English
Bail conditions

If your abuser has been charged with a crime, they may be released on bail. In most cases, abusers who are granted bail must follow strict rules. These rules are called “bail conditions.” Bail conditions almost always say that an accused person must stay away from their victim.

Often the bail conditions can include other things. For example, the accused may:

  • not be allowed to own or have firearms;
  • have to live in a certain place;
  • have to be home by a certain time every day;
  • not be allowed to drink alcohol or take drugs; and
  • have to regularly report to the police.

It is important that you know the bail conditions, so that you know if the conditions are not followed (this is called “breached”). If you can show that the bail conditions have been breached, you can immediately tell the police. If bail conditions were breached, the court can decide that bail should be taken away, and then the accused will be kept in jail until the trial.

Also, if you know the bail conditions, you will be able to tell if they conflict with a family court order. For example: a family court order may say that your abuser has the right to spend time with the children, but the bail conditions could say that they must stay away from you and the children. This is a conflict you will want to get fixed as quickly as possible by going back to family court to change the order.

It is also important to stay in contact with the Crown prosecutor on the case. This is because sometimes courts will change the bail conditions. If one of the bail conditions is that the accused must stay away from you, the Court will not usually change that condition without getting your permission. However, other conditions can change without your permission or knowledge. Staying in touch with the Crown prosecutor can help avoid such surprises.

Later on, if the abuser gets put in jail, you will want to keep in touch with their caseworker. After the abuser’s release from jail, you will want to keep in touch with their probation officer, if there is one. For more information about release, see the following resources.

Web Release
Government of Canada
English

Web Remis en liberté
Government of Canada
French

For more information about bail conditions, see the following resource.

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English
See “Bail conditions or criminal orders.”
Including pets in protective orders

The care and control of pets can be included in the terms of a PAFVA Emergency Protection Order or Queen’s Bench Protection Order. To do so, you need to show that protecting the pet will help protect the victims of family violence. For example, a victim may be more likely to leave an abuser sooner if they know that the pet is safe and away from the abuser.

For more information about including pets in a protective order, see the following resources.

PDF Get Out and keep them safe, too! : Including animals in protective orders
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
English

Web Including pets in protective orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Court Protections for Domestic Violence Victims and their Pets
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
English
This resource can be a challenge to read. Learn more here.
 

You may also want to learn about what to include in your safety plan if you have pets, including pet safekeeping programs if you are leaving an abusive situation. For more information, see the following resources and the Safety Planning Information Page.

Web Taking the Pets
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Women and Pets Escaping Violence
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
English
See “Safety Planning for Pets.”

Web Pet Safekeeping
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
English

Web Community Outreach
Central Alberta Humane Society
English
See “Emergency Boarding Program.”

Web Petsafe Keeping
Calgary Humane Society
English

PDF You Can Help Protect the Safety of People and Animals
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Vous pouvez contribuer à la sécurité des personnes et des animaux
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
French
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web No Four-Legged Family Member Left Behind
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.
Other legal options when dealing with family violence

Aside from the protective orders described above, there are other options you may want to consider to protect yourself from abuse. These include: exclusive possession of the family home, criminal charges, and involving Child Protective Services.

For more information about these options, see the following Information Pages.

Aboriginal matters and on-reserve considerations

For all of the protective orders described above, being Aboriginal or living on-reserve does not change anything. You would use the same options described above to get protection from family violence.

For information about other separation-related issues on-reserve, see the Family Breakdown if You Live on Reserve Information Page.

After you have a protective order: Enforcement and staying safe

Enforcement

“Enforcing” an order means making sure that what the court ordered is actually done. If the abuser does not follow the terms of the protective order, this is called “breaching” the order.

Depending on the type of protective order you have, different people may be responsible for enforcing the court order:

  • Emergency Protection Orders and Queen’s Bench Protection Orders are enforced by the police and the criminal justice system.
  • Restraining orders are enforced by the police and the civil justice system.
  • Peace bonds are enforced by the police and the criminal justice system.
  • No contact orders and bail conditions are enforced by the police and the abuser’s parole or probation officers.

For civil orders, the police can only enforce the order if there is an “enforcement clause.” An enforcement clause is a part of the court order that allows police to arrest and detain the person if they breach the order.

Registering your protective order

It is sometimes possible to “register” a protective order with your local police force. Contact the police force in your area to find out if they register protective orders.

If it can be registered, it is usually registered in the centralized police system, the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Once the protective order is registered in the CPIC system, police will know about it all across Canada.

However, each police force is different, and there is no guarantee that whoever registers the order will include information about an enforcement clause or the specific terms of the order. They may only record the fact that the protective order exists. The information in the CPIC system is not a scan of the order.

Keep a copy of your order with you at all times

As explained above, registering your order with the police is not enough.

Registering a protective order only means that the police will know that a protective order exists: they will probably not have access to the exact terms of the order, and they will probably not be able to tell whether or not there is an enforcement clause. Do not assume that the police will know all about your protective order, even if you have registered it with them.

As a result, once you have a protective order granted by a court, you will need to keep a copy of it with you at all times.

You can also give a copy to your employer and/or workplace so your building’s security officers will be aware of the order. If you have children, you will want to leave a copy with the children’s schools and daycare. This way, if the abuser tries to contact you or your children, you can tell the police and show them the order, and they may be able to arrest the abuser more quickly for breaching the court order.

Reporting violations

If the abuser is not following the protective order, the victim must report it every time it happens. This is true even if the violations seem minor (such as an email or a text message). Even if the police don’t do anything about the violation right away, they will keep a record of each time it happens. This record could be used as evidence against the abuser in the future to allow the police to arrest the abuser or charge him or her with harassment.

Staying safe: Practical steps

Even when you have a protective order, the abuser could still breach the order and you and your children could be in danger.

Depending on your situation, some steps you might want to take after you leave might include:

  • changing your phone number(s);
  • changing your routine (such as your work schedule or the route you take to work);
  • changing your name, and
  • contacting the police.

For more information on staying safe after you leave an abusive relationship, see the Safety Planning Information Page and the following resources.




PDF Women's Rights for a Safer Tomorrow
Medicine Hat College Public Legal Education (via Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society)
English
Start on p. 15.

Web Domestic Violence: Is There a Risk of Death?
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children
English

PDF How do I change my name? Information for victims of violence or abuse
Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
English

Web Personalized Safety Plan
Domestic Violence Handbook
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web On the Clock: How to Protect Yourself at Work
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Staying Strong After Leaving the Shelter
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.
Extending, changing, or cancelling a protective order

Extending a protective order

Your protective order will state how long it is in effect. If the expiry date is nearing and you feel you still need the protections of the order, in many cases you can apply to extend it.

For more detailed information about the process to follow to extend protective orders, see the Process tab of this Information Page.
 

Queen’s Bench Protection Orders

When a Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO) is granted, it will be in effect for up to one year (the Order will say how long it is in effect). At the end of that time, the claimant can go back to court to request that the QBPO be extended for further one-year periods. You must apply for an extension before the QBPO expires.
 

Restraining orders

Restraining orders can be granted for different periods of time, depending on what the judge thinks is best. Some restraining orders are granted for a few months, while others may be granted for much longer periods of time or even permanently. Restraining orders can be extended if they are about to expire the victim feels that they still need the protection in place.
 

Peace bonds

If a peace bond is granted, it may be ordered for up to one year. If the applicant wants to extend the peace bond beyond the time that it is in force, a new application will have to be made with new evidence to support it. But remember that it is not the victim who takes these matters to court: it is the Crown prosecutor.
 

No contact orders

A no contact order may be in place until the accused person’s trial or probationary period is over, or may be included as part of the abuser’s sentence. No contact orders may be extended in certain circumstances, but remember that it is not the victim who takes these matters to court: it is the Crown prosecutor.

Changing the terms of a protective order

As with any court order, a protective order can be changed if there is a change in circumstances. Technically, either the applicant or the respondent can go back to the Court of Queen’s Bench to ask for a change. However, it is quite difficult for a respondent to get a change. Because the issue is about protection, courts are generally hesitant to change conditions.

Therefore, changing protective orders, especially those issued in criminal court, is most common when the change is requested by the victim (not the accused/respondent). In criminal matters, it is common to have no contact conditions in place from the accused person’s release from jail until the resolution of the matter (through a trial or guilty plea). This can easily take 1-2 years.

For more information about changing the terms of a protective order, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

Cancelling a protective order

If both the claimant and the respondent want to cancel a protective order, they can apply to the Court that gave the Order for a consent order that “vacates” the protective order. The process for vacating a protective order is different depending on which the kind of protective order you have.

For more information about this, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

Process

Learn more about how to get a protective order in Alberta, including:

  • Who can help you apply for a civil protective order (including Emergency Protection Orders, Queen’s Bench Protection Orders, restraining orders, and protective orders on-reserve)
  • How to apply for a civil protective order
  • How to respond to an application for a civil protective order
  • How to apply to change, cancel, or extend a civil protective order
  • What to expect when asking for a peace bond or a no contact order
  • The basics about the court process and what to expect

Please read “Who is this Information Page for?” below to make sure you are on the right page.

LegalAve provides general legal information, not legal advice. Learn more here.

Last Reviewed: June 2017
How to be safe on the internet

It is helpful to know how to look at things on the internet safely. You might not want someone else to see what you are looking at. Or you might want to learn how to delete your internet history, which shows which sites you have looked at. You might also not feel safe looking at family violence information, especially if you are in an abusive relationship and are afraid of your abuser.

For instructions on how to look at things on the internet safely and how to delete your browser history, see the Safe Browsing page.

For more information and tips about how to be safe on the internet, see the following resources.

Web Safe Browsing Tips: Computer, Phone and Tablet
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Protecting Your Email
domesticshelters.org
English

How to be safe on the phone

It is also helpful to know how to be safe when using the phone. Sometimes, when you make calls, the call history can be seen on your phone, or someone can hit “redial” to see who you last called. Or, you might just not want someone else to hear what you are talking about or asking for help about. This is especially true if you are in an abusive relationship. You may be afraid that the abuser will find out who you have been talking to. You might not feel safe calling for help—even in your own home.

For more information and tips about how to call for help safely, see the following resources.

Web How to Call for Help Safely
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English

Web How to Spy Spyware on Your Phone
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Apps Help Survivors' Messages Stay Secret
domesticshelters.org
English
Who is this Information Page for?

This Information Page contains information about protective orders in Alberta. It describes:

  • what protective orders are available to victims of family violence in Alberta;
  • the differences between these protective orders;
  • how to ask for a protective order against someone else; and
  • how to respond to someone else’s application for a protective order.
Tip

If you are just starting out with this topic, it’s a good idea to begin on the Law tab of this Information Page. There you will find basic information about what the law says, what the words mean, and detailed descriptions of your options for protective orders.

You are currently on the Process tab of this Information Page, which has information about processes you can follow if you want to get a protective order in Alberta. There is also important information in the Common Questions, Myths, and Law tabs above. In particular, if you have not already done so, you may want to review the “What the words mean” section of the Law tab.

Immediate danger: Calling 911

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 911. If you can’t call 911 before the abuse happens, you can call 911 as soon as possible after the abuse happens, or when it is safe to do so.

Be aware: All phones work for calling 911. This is true even if your phone doesn’t have a service plan, you don’t have any minutes, or you don’t have a SIM card.

When calling 911, there are a few important things you should mention over the phone.

  • The person who answers will ask you whether you want the fire department, the police, or an ambulance. If you don’t know which service you need, explain your situation to the person who answered the phone and they will help.
  • Say your name
  • Give them your address or location
  • Tell them why you need help with as much detail as possible
  • If it is safe to do so, don’t hang up the phone

For more tips about calling 911, see the following resource.

What will happen if you call 911

If you call 911 to report family violence, the police will ask you for information about what has happened.

The more information you can give the police, the better. For example:

  • what exactly is happening;
  • which people or animals are being threatened or hurt; and
  • whether there are any weapons involved.

The police will then let you know if they can come out to the place where the violence is happening, and how soon. They may have other instructions for you.

When the police come out, they will likely have more questions for you about what happened. The police might decide to charge the abusive person with a crime if they believe that a crime was committed.

For a detailed summary of what can happen if you call the police, see the following resources.

Web When They Show Up (Getting the Police Involved)
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF It Starts Today
Today Family Violence Help Centre
English
See “Contacting the Police.

Web Getting the Police Involved
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
This resource deals specifically with elder abuse, but the information applies to other kinds of family violence as well.

PDF Getting Help from the Police or RCMP
Legal Services Society
Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Punjabi, Spanish
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

 
Be Aware

In situations of physical violence, it is natural to try to physically protect yourself. This can result in “hitting back.” Although this may be natural, it can cause big problems. Specifically, you could be charged with a crime (such as assault). Even just a slap (as we might see in a movie) can result in an assault charge. If you are charged with assault, it can make your family issues much more complicated and can cause a great deal of difficulty. For more information about this, see the following resources.


Web How Self-Defense Can Go Wrong
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

For more information on how the police and criminal law system can help, see the Family Violence: How Criminal & Civil Law Can Help Information Page and the following resources.

Web Domestic violence
Calgary Police Service
English

PDF Abuse is wrong in any language (available in English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu)
Government of Canada (via Your Legal Rights)
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, Other languages
Choose your language, then see “What happens if you call the police?”

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Getting The Police Involved.”
 
 
Alberta’s two-court system

As mentioned on the Law tab of this Information Page, there are 2 courts in Alberta that will grant protective orders:

  • the Provincial Court of Alberta; and
  • the Court of Queen’s Bench.

The sections below describe the processes for applying for the different protective orders. Pay careful attention to which court you need to apply to—only one court has the authority to hear your matter, depending on which protective order you are applying for. You will want to make sure that you show up at the right courthouse to save yourself time and energy.

The court required for each application will be noted with one of these icons:

Provincial Court

 

Queen's Bench

 

Who can help victims apply for protective orders?

Help from the police, Legal Aid, and other organizations

In Alberta, there are several organizations that help victims of family violence get certain kinds of protective orders. You do not need to apply for a protective order on your own. These organizations can explain your legal options to you and may be able to help with the paperwork and court hearings. For example:

  • During business hours, Legal Aid Alberta’s Family Law Office offers free help through its Emergency Protection Order Program (EPOP).
  • For emergencies and after business hours, you can contact the police. They can also help you apply for an Emergency Protection Order.

For information about other organizations that can provide different kinds of help, see the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page and the following resources.

Web Victim Service Units
Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association
English

Web Help for victims of crime
Government of Alberta
English

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English

PDF What you need to know about... Emergency Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Hiring a lawyer

You could hire a lawyer to apply for a protective order for you. That lawyer could also handle other family law issues (such as custody, parenting time, child support, and partner/spousal support). Your lawyer will explain to you what is happening with your case and why.

However, even if you do have a lawyer, you may wish to continue reading this (and other Information Pages) to educate yourself further.

For more information about your options for legal representation and other legal help, see the Community Legal Resources & Legal Aid Information Page and the Working with a Lawyer Information Page.

The 3 ways to apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO)

If you are in an urgent family violence situation where you fear for your safety, you can apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) at any time—24 hours a day—as long as you meet the definitions of “family member” and “family violence.” Information about these definitions is on the “Emergency Protection Orders under the Protection Against Family Violence Act” section on the Law tab of this Information Page.

Remember

An EPO is only granted for emergency situations. If your situation is not an emergency, consider applying for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order instead. See the “Applying for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order” section below for more information.

You can apply for an EPO in 3 ways:

  1. Contact the police and they can apply for you. You can do this at any time of the day or night.
  2. Apply in any Provincial Court during regular business hours. You can do this with help from Legal Aid’s Emergency Protection Order Program (EPOP).
  3. If you already have a family law lawyer, ask your lawyer to make the EPO application for you.
Applying for an EPO with the help of the police

If you need an Emergency Protection Order, you can contact your local police or RCMP for help.

Be Aware

The police can help 24 hours a day. However, during business hours, they may refer you to Legal Aid’s Emergency Protection Order Program. See the “Applying for an EPO in Provincial Court with help from Legal Aid’s Emergency Protection Order Program” section below for more information about that.

If you contact the police to make the application for you, you will need to explain your situation and why you need emergency protection. If your situation is urgent, they will contact a justice of the peace right away to request the EPO.

Remember

The police may also press criminal charges in certain situations.

The application form is below. You will be given this form if you contact the police.

PDF Emergency Protection Order Application (Form CTS3755)
Government of Alberta
English
This link only opens in Internet Explorer. Learn how you can view this form in Chrome and Firefox.

After you complete the application form, you will talk to the judge or justice of the peace about your situation. You will be asked what has happened to cause you to fear for:

  • your personal safety;
  • the personal safety of a child or other family member; or
  • property damage.

When you apply for an EPO, there is no guarantee that it will be granted. The final decision is up to the justice of the peace or judge. If the EPO is not granted, “duty counsel” will be able to help. Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. They will help you figure out if you can apply for other kinds of protective orders, and will refer you to other resources for help.

If the EPO is granted:

  • You will be notified of the date of the Queen’s Bench review hearing. This will be no later than 9 working days after the EPO was granted.
  • Both you and the Respondent will get an information package about contacting Legal Aid Alberta for help at the review hearing.
  • What you said to the judge will be typed up and a copy will be given to you and to the Respondent.
  • You will also be referred to other resources that may be able to help you with related matters (such as parenting time and support).
  • You will need to take the EPO to your local police station or RCMP detachment to register it. It will be in effect immediately.

A peace officer will usually “serve” the EPO on the Respondent (unless the Court has authorized another form of service). “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. Do not serve it yourself.

After the Respondent is served by the police, the police will fill out an Affidavit of Service to prove that the Respondent was served. This document will be filed with the clerk of the court in time for the review hearing. Once the Respondent is served, the police will also enter the Order and the conditions on the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system. The EPO is now enforceable.

For more information about finding local police and applying for an EPO through the police or RCMP, see the following resources.

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English

PDF What you need to know about... Emergency Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Emergency Protection Order (EPO)
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English
Applying for an EPO in Provincial Court with help from Legal Aid’s Emergency Protection Order Program (EPOP)

If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police/RCMP.

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

The Emergency Protection Order Program (EPOP) is a program offered by Legal Aid Alberta. With this program, you can meet with a lawyer for free. It is free for all victims of family violence, no matter what your income is.

The Legal Aid lawyer will:

  • discuss your situation with you and tell you what your options are;
  • give you their opinion about whether an EPO is possible, or if a different protective order would be better for your situation; and
  • help you complete all of the EPO paperwork needed and present your case to the judge that day (if they agree that you can apply for an EPO).

In Edmonton, Calgary, and Lethbridge, EPOP has a lawyer who attends court every day. In other areas of the province, the service is handled differently, depending on the location. To use this service, you can call the phone numbers listed in the following resource.

There is no guarantee that an EPO will be granted. This is true even if your lawyer thinks it’s a good idea, or if another organization has told you to apply for an EPO. The final decision is up to the judge to make. If the EPO is not granted by the judge, the Legal Aid lawyer will discuss other legal options to protect yourself (such as a Queen’s Bench Protection Order or restraining order).

If the EPO is granted:

  • You will be notified of the date of the Queen’s Bench review hearing. This will be no later than 9 working days after the EPO was granted.
  • Both you and the Respondent will get an information package about contacting Legal Aid Alberta for help at the review hearing. Contact them as soon as possible so they have time to get all of the information about your case before the review hearing.
  • What you said to the judge will be typed up and a copy will be given to you and to the Respondent.
  • You will also be referred to other resources that may be able to help you with related matters (such as parenting time and support).
  • You will need to take the EPO to your local police station or RCMP detachment to register it. It will be in effect immediately.
  • A peace officer will “serve” the EPO on the Respondent. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. Do not serve it yourself.

For more information, see the following resources.


PDF Emergency Protection Order (EPO)
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

PDF What you need to know about... Emergency Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Preparing for Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
EPO Claimants: Preparing for the Queen’s Bench review hearing

At the time the EPO is granted, a Queen’s Bench review hearing will be scheduled to reconsider the matter. That hearing can be no later than 9 working days after the EPO is granted.

At the Queen’s Bench review, the EPO may be:

  • “confirmed” by the Court, which would keep the same conditions in place for a specific period of time (up to one year);
  • replaced by a Queen’s Bench Protection Order for longer-term protection (which may have the terms as the EPO, or different terms);
  • cancelled (revoked) by the Court and will no longer be in effect; or
  • scheduled to be reconsidered at a different hearing at a later date.

Both you and the Respondent will need to go to the Queen’s Bench review.

Getting legal help

You do not have to prepare for this hearing on your own. You will have been given an information package about contacting Legal Aid Alberta for help at the review hearing. You can meet with a lawyer for free, no matter what your income is.

If you want help from Legal Aid Alberta, contact them as soon as possible so they have time to get all of the information about your case before the review hearing.

Completing an Affidavit

You can complete an Affidavit to explain why you think a protection order should stay in place. The form is linked below, but be sure to talk to your lawyer first about how to fill out this form and what to include in it.

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once you have filled out the paperwork, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Your Legal Aid lawyer can help with this step. Or, Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and 2 copies of everything. There should be one copy of each document for you and one for the Respondent. Your Legal Aid lawyer can help with this step. Or, you will file them at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Respondent. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents.

You must serve the Respondent a “reasonable time” before the court date. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible.

You cannot serve the Respondent yourself. Someone else must serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

Your Legal Aid lawyer can help with this step. Or, you can arrange for service yourself. If the Respondent has a lawyer, the paperwork can be delivered to the lawyer’s address. If the Respondent does not have a lawyer, the paperwork must be delivered to the Respondent.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the following resource.

PDF Serving Documents on an Abusive Party
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Service. This form must be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Your Legal Aid lawyer can help with this step. Or, you can arrange for it yourself.

Plan to go to the hearing

The Emergency Protection Order tells you when and where court will be held. Go to that hearing. If you do not go to court on that day, the court may make an order without you there.

Your matter will be scheduled in “chambers.” This is where one judge sits in an open courtroom (meaning anyone can come in) and hears a list of different matters by different people. Yours is one case on the list. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.

PDF Preparing for Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English



PDF What you need to know about... Queen's Bench Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See “How do I apply for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order?”

Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Prepare for the Respondent’s Response

Before the day of the review hearing, the Respondent may serve you with an “Affidavit in Response” to your application. In this Affidavit, the Respondent can state whether they agree or disagree with what you asked for.

If the Respondent’s evidence is quite different from yours, the Court may order an “oral hearing.” This means that both parties will have to tell their versions of what happened in court. This is called “oral evidence.” It is different from the other evidence so far, which was given only in writing (in affidavits). At an oral hearing, the judge will make a decision based on whose evidence seems more credible, or believable.

In an oral hearing, your EPOP lawyers can no longer represent you. Both you and the Respondent will have to arrange your own representation. You can do this by:

  • applying to Legal Aid (if you meet the financial requirements);
  • hiring your own lawyer; or
  • representing yourself.

For more information about these options, see the following Information Pages.

After the hearing

If a protective order is granted, that Order is in effect immediately and will be in place for the length of time stated in the Order.

If the EPO is cancelled and not replaced with a Queen’s Bench Protection Order, you may still be able apply for one of the other protective orders. Ask your Legal Aid lawyer what your options are to protect yourself.

Be Aware

The Emergency Protection Order Program does not provide help if people want to change an order that was granted in a Queen’s Bench review hearing. If you later want to make a change to the Order, you would have arrange for other representation. You can do this by applying to Legal Aid (if you meet the financial requirements), hiring a lawyer, or representing yourself.

For more information about making changes to a protective order, see the appropriate section below:

  • “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a Queen’s Bench Protection Order”
  • “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order”
EPO Respondents: Getting ready for the Queen’s Bench review hearing

If you have been served with an Emergency Protection Order (EPO), then you must follow the terms of that Order. The Order will describe what you are not allowed to do. These restrictions will be in place until the Queen’s Bench review hearing.

The Emergency Protection Order will list the date for the review hearing. At that review, the EPO may be:

  • “confirmed” by the Court, which would keep the same conditions of the EPO in place for a specific period of time (up to one year);
  • replaced by a Queen’s Bench Protection Order for longer-term protection (which may have the same terms as the EPO, or different terms);
  • cancelled (revoked) by the Court and will no longer be in effect; or
  • scheduled to be reconsidered at a different hearing at a later date.

For an overview of your options, see the following resource.

Web Respond to an Emergency Protection Order
Government of Alberta
English

Getting a transcript of the EPO hearing

You are allowed to get a copy of what was said at the EPO hearing (a “transcript”). Having this transcript will help you to better prepare for the review hearing.

To get a transcript, contact the court clerks at the judicial centre where the EPO was filed.

Web Provincial Court Locations & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Getting legal help

You will have been given an information package about contacting Legal Aid Alberta for help at the review hearing. You can meet with a lawyer for free, no matter what your income is.

If you want help from Legal Aid Alberta, contact them as soon as possible so they have time to get all of the information about your case before the review hearing.

If you agree with what is being asked for

If you agree with the terms of the protection order, you do not have to file any paperwork. However, you will likely still want to go to the Queen’s Bench review hearing (unless your lawyer tells you not to). You never know what will happen in court, and if there are any questions or unplanned issues, it is good for the parties to be there.

If you disagree with what is being asked for: Completing a Response

If you disagree with the terms of the protection order that is being reviewed, you can fill out paperwork to tell your side of the story. To do this, you will file an “Affidavit in Response.” The form is linked below, but be sure to talk to your lawyer first about how to fill out this form and what to include in it.

 

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once you have filled out the paperwork, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Your Legal Aid lawyer can help with this step. Or, Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English
 

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and 2 copies of everything. There should be one copy of each document for you and one for the Claimant. Your Legal Aid lawyer can help with this step. Or, you will file them at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre:

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

 

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Claimant (just as you were served with their paperwork to begin with). “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. You must serve the Claimant a “reasonable time” before the court date. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible.

You cannot serve the Claimant yourself. Someone else must serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

Your Legal Aid lawyer can help with this step. Or, you can arrange for service yourself. If the Claimant has a lawyer, the paperwork can be delivered to the lawyer’s address. If the Claimant does not have a lawyer, the paperwork must be delivered to the Claimant’s address.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

 

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Service. This form must be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Your Legal Aid lawyer can help with this step. Or, you can arrange for it yourself.

Plan to go to the hearing

The Emergency Protection Order tells you when and where court will be held. Go to that hearing. If you do not go to court on that day, the Court may make an order without you there.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

Your matter will be scheduled in “chambers.” This is where one judge sits in an open courtroom (meaning anyone can come in) and hears a list of different matters by different people. Yours is one case on the list. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.


Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English


PDF What you need to know about... Emergency Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

After the hearing is over

If a protective order is granted, you can pick up your copy of the Order from the court clerks after the hearing. If you don’t, the Order will be served on you.

You must follow the terms of this Order. If you do not, the police can get involved and you may be fined or jailed.

Applying for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order

This information in this section is for victims applying for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO) if they do not already have an Emergency Protection Order.

If you already have an Emergency Protection Order, then your EPO will automatically be reviewed within 9 working days in the Court of Queen’s Bench. You do not need to apply separately for a QBPO. See the information in the “EPO Claimants: Preparing for the Queen’s Bench review hearing” section above.

Remember

To apply for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO), you must meet the definitions of “family member” and “family violence” described on the “Queen’s Bench Protection Orders under the Protection Against Family Violence Act” section on the Law tab of this Information Page.

Making other Applications at the same time

You can also make family law applications at the same time as applying for a QBPO. For example, you could apply for parenting time, child support, partner support, or property division.

For information about how to apply in Queen’s Bench for other family-related matters, see the Information Pages for each topic.

For information about how to combine Applications, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Completing the paperwork for a QBPO

The exact paperwork you need to fill out depends on whether you have Queen’s Bench court file for family law issues that is still active.

Tip

If you are not sure if you have open Queen’s Bench family file, contact the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

If you do not have an open Queen’s Bench family court file

If you do not have an active file in court for any family law matters (such as divorce, parenting time, or support), you need the following application kit. Detailed instructions are included with the forms. The kit also includes tips about what information to include to make sure you have a strong case. Make sure you read this whole kit before filling out the forms.

This kit includes:

  • An Originating Application: this is the document that lets the Court know what you are asking for.
  • A Queen’s Bench Protection Order Questionnaire: this is the document where you tell the Court why you think you need a QBPO.
  • An Affidavit of Personal Service: this is the form you will file with the Court to prove that the Respondent got the paperwork notifying them of the hearing.

 

If you have already made, or are currently making a family law court application

If you have already have an active court file (for example: for divorce, parenting time, or support), you will use use the kit below. However, one form will be different. Instead of the “Originating Application” form, you will use the regular “Application” form (linked below).

PDF Applying for a Queen's Bench Protection Order (On Notice to the other party)
Government of Alberta
English
Use everything except the Originating Application form.

PDF Court of Queen's Bench: General Application with an Application Form
Government of Alberta
English
From this kit, use only the “Application” form (instead of the Originating Application form in the kit above).

For more information, see the following resource.

PDF What you need to know about... Queen's Bench Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See “How do I apply for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order?”

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork and choosing a court date

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

At the courthouse, and with the help of a court clerk, you will be able to pick a court date. When choosing a date, you will need to factor in the amount of notice that you need to give the other party (see the “Serving the paperwork” section below). You also need to give the other party enough time to respond to your application.

If you are applying for other things (such as parenting time and support), you may want to consider choosing a court date that works for all of the applications. However, different applications have different timelines. This might cause a delay. For example, if the Respondent is being asked to disclose financial information, they have longer to respond, and the court hearing will be later.

For more information about how to choose the best date for your matters, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services and see the following resource.


Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Your matter will be scheduled in “chambers.” Chambers is where applications take place. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Applications for QBPOs usually take place in the morning (also called “regular chambers”).

However, if you think your matter may take longer than 20 minutes to discuss in court, you may need to come in the afternoon. Ask the court clerk. If your matters require more than 20 minutes in total, you may be scheduled for special chambers (also called “afternoon chambers”).

Be Aware

The rules for regular chambers are very different than the rules for special chambers. For example: in special chambers, the parties must send in a specific document called a “confirming letter.” Also, there are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling, paperwork, and deadlines. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource.

After you have picked a court date, write down the court date on the first page of all of the copies of your Application. The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed and filed, you will need to “serve” it on the Respondent. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. This is to notify them that a hearing is taking place. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible. This is also a very important step, because if the paperwork is not properly served, the judge might not hear your matter.

There are time limits in which you must complete the service. In general, the service must be completed 10 days or more before the date of the hearing. Be sure to check with court staff about what your time limits are.

Do not serve the paperwork yourself. You can have someone else serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the following resource.

PDF Serving Documents on an Abusive Party
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Personal Service, which is included in the application kit above. This form must be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Get ready for the response

Before the court date, the other party may be serving you with their Response. They must respond in a “reasonable” amount of time. You will need to read this paperwork to ensure that you are ready for your court date.

There are 2 ways the other party can respond.

  1. They can file an Affidavit in response to your Application. In their Affidavit, the Respondent can state whetherthey agree or disagree with what you asked for. However, the Respondent is not allowed to ask for anything of their own in an Affidavit. They should serve this Affidavit a “reasonable” amount of time before the court date.
  2. They can file an Affidavit in response to your application, and file an “Application” of their own, in order to “ask for” something of their own. This is called a “cross-application.” This starts another Application, and an entirely new round of responses.

Do you need to respond to the other party’s Response?

If the other party responded with only an Affidavit

If you want to respond to the information in the Respondent’s Affidavit, you may be able to file a “Supplemental Affidavit.”

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits you are allowed in chambers. You will likely have to ask for the Court’s permission before filing a Supplemental Affidavit. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they are not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be adjourned (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

If the other party responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

You are now the Applicant in your own Application, and the Respondent in the other party’s Application.

Tip

When there are cross-applications, it gets very confusing as to which documents go with which Applications, and whose turn it is to do what. As a result, it is helpful to: keep all of the paperwork together, keep things well organized (for example: in a binder), mark deadlines and court hearings on a calendar, and even draw a little chart for yourself, if you need to.

As a result, it is now your turn to file a “Response” to the new Application (see the “Responding to an application for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order” section below). The other party will then be able to file the Supplemental Affidavit to your response, if they want to (as described above).

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Plan to go to the chambers hearing

When you filed your paperwork with the Court, you were given a court date and time. You need to be there on that day. If you cannot attend in person, you may be able to attend by video or telephone. Contact the court clerks well before the hearing date to arrange that.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Preparing for the chambers hearing

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing, and show up early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Chambers is where applications take place. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.


PDF What you need to know about... Queen's Bench Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Preparing for Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English


Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court, or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

Adjournments for QBPO hearings are not common. This is because it may not be safe to delay the hearing if the victim is in danger.

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

You can ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

When your court hearing is over, in most cases, the Order granted by the judge will be typed up by the court clerk. It will be ready shortly after the hearing.

When you are given an Order, make sure it is filed with the clerks. The clerks will also give you 2 stamped copies of the Order: one for you to keep and one for you to register with the police (see below).

Serving the Respondent

If the Respondent was in court and waits to get their copy of the Order, then they have been served (and the Order will make that clear).

If the Respondent did not come to court, or left before getting their copy of the Order, then you are responsible for having them served with the Order. The person who completes the service would then need to complete and file an Affidavit of Service. You will need a stamped copy of the Affidavit of Service to register with the police as well (see below).

Registering the QBPO with the police

Once you have your stamped copies of the QBPO, you will need to take them to your local police or RCMP detachment to have them registered. This way, the police can act quickly if the Respondent does not follow the Order.

If you live in Calgary or Edmonton, see the following resource for the registry office you need.

If you live outside of Calgary or Edmonton, contact your local police or RCMP detachment.

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Reporting violations

If the Respondent does not follow the Order (this is also called “breaching” the order), it is your responsibility to report it to your local police. Even minor violations (such as an email or a text message) should be reported—they will be added to the police file and may help in taking action against the abuser in the future.

Be Aware

Victims must also follow the terms of the Order. If you breach the Order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future. Instead, if you want to be in contact with this person, you can go back to court to have the Order removed. See the “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a Queen’s Bench Protection Order” section below.

Responding to an Application for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order

You have been served with forms telling you that there will be an Application made for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order. In these forms, you have been notified of the date of the court hearing.

  • If you agree with everything that is in those documents, you do not need to complete a response.
  • If you disagree with anything that is in those documents, you will need to complete a Response.

In addition to the QBPO application, the other party may be making other family-related requests. For example, requests about divorce, parenting time, or support. Be sure to read the documents carefully so that you know exactly what is being asked for.

For information about how to respond to Applications for other family-related matters, see the Information Pages for each topic.

For information about how to combine your Responses, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

If you agree with what is being asked for

If you agree with what is being asked for, you do not have to file any paperwork. However, you will likely still want to go to the Queen’s Bench review hearing (unless your lawyer tells you not to). You never know what will happen in court, and if there are any questions or unplanned issues, it is good for the parties to be there.

If you disagree with what is being asked for: Completing a Response

If you disagree with what is being asked for, you have 2 choices:

  1. File only an Affidavit. You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, but you are not asking for anything specific of your own, or if it is not clear what the other party is asking for.
  2. File an Affidavit and Application of your own (this is called a “Cross-application”). You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, and you are asking for something of your own.

Filing only an Affidavit

If you choose to respond to the other party’s Application with only an Affidavit, you will file an “Affidavit in Response.” See the following form.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the length of affidavits and the kind of evidence that can go in them. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. If you want to ask for an exception to these rules, you will need ask permission of the court (and there is a very specific procedure for doing that). For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

Filing an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you are responding to the other party’s Application by filing a cross-application of your own, you will need to review the “Applying for a Queen’s Bench Protection Order” section above.

A few things you should know:

  • In your Affidavit, you can include facts that respond to the documents completed by the other party and the requests you are making in your own Application.
  • Usually it makes sense to choose the same hearing date as the date listed on the other party’s Application (if that is possible), so that both Applications can be heard at the same time.
  • Because there are now 2 applications with various time requirements, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delay) of your hearing to give the other party and yourself enough time to review and file all of the paperwork.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Claimant. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents.

This needs to be done within a “reasonable” time before the court hearing. You cannot serve the Claimant yourself. The person who serves the paperwork must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Personal Service. This form is to be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Watch for the other party’s response

If you responded with only an Affidavit

If you filed only an Affidavit, the other party may file a “Supplemental Affidavit.” Be sure to read that when you get it.

You are usually not allowed to file a Supplemental Affidavit in response to the other party’s Supplemental Affidavit. However, in rare cases, you may be able to apply for permission to do so. This is called applying for a “fiat.” This is a complicated process. Contact Resolution and Court Administration Services for more information.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

If you responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you responded with both an Affidavit and an Application of your own, the other party is now the Claimant in their Application, and the Respondent in your Application.

As the Respondent to your Application, the other party can file a “Response” to your Application. Watch for that Response, and be sure to read it when you are served with it.

When you are served with the other party’s Response to your Application, you may be able to file a “Supplemental Affidavit.”

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they are not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be “adjourned” (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Chambers is where applications take place. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.



Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

Adjournments for QBPO hearings are not common. This is because it may not be safe to delay the hearing if the victim is in danger.

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

You can ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

If an order is granted in court, you can pick up your copy of the Order from the court clerks after the hearing. If you don’t, the Order will be served on you.

If the QBPO is granted, the Order will also be registered with the police and the RCMP.

You must follow the terms of this Order. If you do not, the police can get involved and you may be fined or jailed. It does not matter if the other person agreed to break the terms of the Order, or even contacted you first: you will be the one who suffers the consequences.

Applying to change, cancel, or extend a Queen’s Bench Protection Order

Queen's Bench

To change, cancel, or extend a Queen’s Bench Protection Order, you will need to apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Completing the Application

To apply, use the following forms:

  • An Application: this is the document that lets the Court know what you are asking for.
  • An Affidavit: this is the document where you tell the Court why you are making your request.

These documents are in the following kit.

Making other Applications at the same time

You can also make family law applications at the same time. For example, you could apply for parenting time, child support, partner support, or property division.

For information about how to apply in Queen’s Bench for other family-related matters, see the Information Pages for each topic.

For information about how to combine Applications, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork and choosing a court date

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

At the courthouse, and with the help of a court clerk, you will be able to pick a court date. When choosing a date, you will need to factor in the amount of notice that you need to give the other party (see the “Serving the paperwork” section below). You also need to give the other party enough time to respond to your application.

If you are applying for other things (such as parenting time and support), you may want to consider choosing a court date that works for all of the applications. However, different applications have different timelines. This might cause a delay. For example, if the Respondent is being asked to disclose financial information, they have longer to respond, and the court hearing will be later.

Your matter will be scheduled in “chambers.” Chambers is where applications take place. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Applications for QBPOs usually take place in the morning (also called “regular chambers”).

However, if you think your matter may take longer than 20 minutes to discuss in court, you may need to come in the afternoon. Ask the court clerk. If your matters require more than 20 minutes in total, you may be scheduled for special chambers (also called “afternoon chambers”).

Be Aware

The rules for regular chambers are very different than the rules for special chambers. For example: in special chambers, the parties must send in a specific document called a “confirming letter.” Also, there are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling, paperwork, and deadlines. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource.

After you have picked a court date, write down the court date on the first page of all of the copies of your Application. The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed and filed, you will need to “serve” it on the Respondent. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. This is to notify them that a hearing is taking place. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible. This is also a very important step, because if the paperwork is not properly served, the judge might not hear your matter.

There are time limits in which you must complete the service. In general, the service must be completed 10 days or more before the date of the hearing. Be sure to check with court staff about what your time limits are.

Do not serve the paperwork yourself. You can have someone else serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the following resource.

PDF Serving Documents on an Abusive Party
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Personal Service, which is included in the application kit above. This form must be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Get ready for the Response

Before the court date, the other party may be serving you with their Response. They must respond in a “reasonable” amount of time. You will need to read this paperwork to ensure that you are ready for your court date.

There are 2 ways the other party can respond.

  1. They can file an Affidavit in response to your Application. In their Affidavit, the Respondent can state whether they agree or disagree with what you asked for. However, the Respondent is not allowed to ask for anything of their own in an Affidavit. They should serve this Affidavit a “reasonable” amount of time before the court date. What counts as “reasonable” may be different depending on your location—contact the court clerks in your judicial centre for the rules in your area.
  2. They can file an Affidavit in response to your application, and file an “Application” of their own, in order to “ask for” something of their own. This is called a “cross-application.” This starts another Application, and an entirely new round of responses.

Do you need to respond to the other party’s Response?

If the other party responded with only an Affidavit

If you want to respond to the information in the Respondent’s Affidavit, you may be able to file a “Supplemental Affidavit.”

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits you are allowed in chambers. You will likely have to ask for the Court’s permission before filing a Supplemental Affidavit. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they are not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be adjourned (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

If the other party responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

You are now the Applicant in your own Application, and the Respondent in the other party’s Application.

Tip

When there are cross-applications, it gets very confusing as to which documents go with which Applications, and whose turn it is to do what. As a result, it is helpful to: keep all of the paperwork together, keep things well organized (for example: in a binder), mark deadlines and court hearings on a calendar, and even draw a little chart for yourself, if you need to.

As a result, it is now your turn to file a “Response” to the new Application (see the “Responding to an application to change, cancel, or extend a Queen’s Bench Protection Order” section below). The other party will then be able to file the Supplemental Affidavit to your response, if they want to (as described above).

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Plan to go to the chambers hearing

When you filed your paperwork with the Court, you were given a court date and time. You need to be there on that day. If you cannot attend in person, you may be able to attend by video or telephone. Contact the court clerks well before the hearing date to arrange that.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing, and show up early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

When the need for the QBPO is still urgent, adjournments are not common.

If both of you agree, you can arrange for an adjournment well in advance of the court hearing date. To find out how to do that, call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

Be Aware

For matters in special chambers, there are additional rules about asking for adjournments. These rules are very specific and strict, and they are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

In regular chambers, it is also possible to ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. If both parties agree, you can ask for an adjournment before the chambers list begins. (More information on chambers is on the Understanding the Court Process Information Page). The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

When your court hearing is over, in most cases, the Order granted by the judge will be typed up by the court clerk. It will be ready shortly after the hearing.

When you are given an Order, make sure it is filed with the clerks.

  • If the Order that is granted terminates the Protection Order, the clerks will give you one stamped copy.
  • If your Protection Order remains in place, the clerks will give you 2 stamped copies of the Order: one for you to keep and one for you to register with the police (see below).

Serving the Respondent

If the Respondent was in court and waits to get their copy of the Order, then they have been served (and the Order will make that clear).

If the Respondent did not come to court, or left before getting their copy of the Order, then you are responsible for having them served with the Order. The person who completes the service would then need to complete and file an Affidavit of Service. You will need a stamped copy of the Affidavit of Service to register with the police as well (see below).

If there is a new QBPO: Registering it with the police

If your QBPO was changed or extended, you will need to take the new Order to your local police or RCMP detachment to register it. This way, the police can act quickly if the Respondent does not follow the Order.

Reporting violations

If the Respondent does not follow the Order (this is also called “breaching” the order), it is your responsibility to report it to your local police. Even minor violations (such as an email or a text message) should be reported—they will be added to the police file and may help in taking action against the abuser in the future.

Remember

Victims must also follow the terms of the protective order. If you breach the Order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future. Instead, if you want to be in contact with this person, you can go back to court to have the Order removed.

Responding to an application to change, cancel, or extend a Queen’s Bench Protection Order

You have been served with forms telling you that there is an Application to change, cancel, or extend a Queen’s Bench Protection Order. In these forms, you have been notified of the date of the court hearing.

  • If you agree with everything that is in those documents, you do not need to complete a response.
  • If you disagree with anything that is in those documents, you will need to complete a Response.

In addition to the QBPO application, the other party may be making other family-related requests. For example, requests about divorce, parenting time, or support. Be sure to read the documents carefully so that you know exactly what is being asked for.

For information about how to respond to Applications for other family-related matters, see the Information Pages for each topic.

For information about how to combine your Responses, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

If you agree with what is being asked for

If you agree with what is being asked for, you do not have to file any paperwork. However, you will likely still want to go to the Queen’s Bench review hearing (unless your lawyer tells you not to). You never know what will happen in court, and if there are any questions or unplanned issues, it is good for the parties to be there.

If you disagree with what is being asked for: Completing a Response

If you disagree with what is being asked for, you have 2 choices:

  1. File only an Affidavit. You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, but you are not asking for anything specific of your own, or if it is not clear what the other party is asking for.
  2. File an Affidavit and Application of your own (this is called a “Cross-Application”). You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, and you are asking for something of your own.

Filing only an Affidavit

If you choose to respond to the other party’s Application with only an Affidavit, you will file an “Affidavit in Response.” See the following form.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the length of affidavits and the kind of evidence that can go in them. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. If you want to ask for an exception to these rules, you will need ask permission of the court (and there is a very specific procedure for doing that). For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
  

Filing an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you are responding to the other party’s Application by filing a Cross-Application of your own, you will need to review the “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a Queen’s Bench Protection Order” section above.

A few things you should know:

  • In your Affidavit, you can include facts that respond to the documents completed by the other party and the requests you are making in your own Application.
  • Usually it makes sense to choose the same hearing date as the date listed on the other party’s Application (if that is possible), so that both Applications can be heard at the same time.
  • Because there are now 2 Applications with various time requirements, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delay) of your hearing to give the other party and yourself enough time to review and file all of the paperwork.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling Cross-Applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Applicant. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents.

This needs to be done within a “reasonable” time before the court hearing. You cannot serve the Applicant yourself. The person who serves the paperwork must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Personal Service. This form is to be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Watch for the other party’s response

If you responded with only an Affidavit

If you filed only an Affidavit, the other party may file a “Supplemental Affidavit.” Be sure to read that when you get it.

You are usually not allowed to file a Supplemental Affidavit in response to the other party’s Supplemental Affidavit. However, in rare cases, you may be able to apply for permission to do so. This is called applying for a “fiat.” This is a complicated process. Contact Resolution and Court Administration Services for more information.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

If you responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you responded with both an Affidavit and an Application of your own, the other party is now the Claimant in their Application, and the Respondent in your Application.

As the Respondent to your Application, the other party can file a “Response” to your application. Watch for that Response, and be sure to read it when you are served with it.

When you are served with the other party’s response to your Application, you may be able to file a “Supplemental Affidavit.”

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they are not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be “adjourned” (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

When the terms of the QBPO are still urgent, adjournments are not common.

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

Be Aware

For matters in special chambers, there are additional rules about asking for adjournments. These rules are very specific and strict, and they are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

In regular chambers, it is also possible to ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. If both parties agree, you can ask for an adjournment before the chambers list begins. (More information on chambers is on the Understanding the Court Process Information Page). The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

If an order is granted in court, you can pick up your copy of the Order from the court clerks after the hearing. If you don’t, the Order will be served on you.

If a new QBPO is granted, the Order will also be registered with the police and the RCMP.

You must follow the terms of this Order. If you do not, the police can get involved and you may be fined or jailed.

Asking for a warrant permitting entry

If you think you need a warrant permitting entry, contact the police. They will call a judge or a justice of the peace to explain the situation. If the judge believes the situation requires it, the warrant permitting entry may be granted immediately.

If the warrant is granted, a police officer is given permission to enter a specific location to search for and help a victim. The police officer can remove the victim from the location if the victim gives their permission.

Applying for, or responding to, a FHRMIRA Emergency Protection Order

In Alberta, it is currently not possible to apply for Emergency Protection Orders under the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act. This is because the FHRMIRA required that judges be appointed to hear the applications. This has not yet happened.

Applying for a restraining order: Your options

There are 2 different kinds of restraining orders in Alberta:

  • Family restraining orders
  • Non-family restraining orders

Either of these restraining orders may be applied for in 2 different ways:

  • You can apply by giving “notice” to the other party. This means you would tell the other party you were applying in court for a restraining order against them.
  • You can apply without giving notice to the other party. This is called an “ex parte” application.

Tip

If you need protection from a family member, make sure you have also learned about the protective orders specifically for family violence: Emergency Protection Orders and Queen’s Bench Protection Orders. These orders are often easier to apply for, and may provide better protection for family violence victims. If your abuser meets the definition of a “family member,” either of these protective orders might be a better option for you—see the Law tab of this Information Page for more details.

The difference between “family” restraining orders and “non-family” restraining orders

The difference between “family” restraining orders and “non-family” restraining orders can be confusing, as those defined as “non-family” can actually be made against members of your family.

  • Family” restraining orders can be made against a current or former spouse or Adult Interdependent Partner.
  • Non-family” restraining orders can be made against anyone else. For example: someone you are dating, a friend, a parent, an adult child, a neighbour, or a coworker.

The exact forms and processes to apply for the restraining order will depend on who you are wanting to be protected from.

The difference between giving notice and not giving notice when applying for a restraining order

Whether you apply for a family restraining order or a non-family restraining order, you will have to choose how to apply:

  • By giving “notice” to the other party
  • Without giving notice to the other party

By giving “notice” the other party

This means you will have to tell the Respondent that you are making this application. You will have to arrange for the court paperwork to be delivered to the other party, and they will have the chance to respond to your paperwork.

Without giving notice to the other party

This is also called an “ex parte” application. This means the application paperwork will not be served on the Respondent and the judge will only hear your side of the situation. The Respondent would not have a chance to be heard at that time. If the restraining order is granted, a separate court hearing would be scheduled to review the restraining order. At that hearing, the other party will have a chance to respond to your application.

The original restraining order will only be in effect until this review date. At that time, the judge will decide if the restraining order will be continued.

The kind of restraining order you need depends on your situation

As a result of the options described above, there are 4 different options to apply for a restraining order. You will have to choose the one that best fits your situation. The choices are:

  • a Family Restraining Order without notice;
  • a Family Restraining Order with notice;
  • a Non-Family Restraining Order without notice; and
  • a Non-Family Restraining Order with notice.

If you are served with a restraining order, you will have to read the documents very carefully, so that you understand what kind of restraining order was granted. This is important because the ways to respond are also different.

Applying for a restraining order at the same time as other family law matters

You can also combine the restraining order application with another application about family law matters in the Court of Queen’s Bench (such as a divorce, parenting time, or support).

If you want to do this, you will need to fill out different paperwork than if you were applying for the restraining order by itself. Contact Resolution and Court Administration Services to get the paperwork you need.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Be Aware

Applying for other family law matters at the same time may mean that it takes longer to get the Restraining Order. You will also likely have to give notice to the other party. Staff at Resolution and Court Administration Services can help you decide what is best for your situation.

For information about how to make applications for other family-related matters, or respond to other applications, see the Information Pages for each topic.

More information

For more general information about restraining orders, see the following resource.

PDF What you need to know about... Restraining Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
Applying for a Family Restraining Order without notice

Remember

There are 4 options for restraining orders in Alberta. Be sure you read the “Applying for a restraining order: Your options” section above to find out which restraining order you need to apply for.

Are you eligible?

You can only apply for a Family Restraining Order without notice, if:

  • you want protection from your current or former spouse or Adult Interdependent Partner;
  • you have a “reasonable” fear that the person you want to be protected from will cause you or your children physical harm; and
  • it would be dangerous for you to give this person advance notice of your application.

For more information about these requirements, see the Law tab of this Information Page.

Completing the paperwork

To ask for a Family Restraining Order without notice, you will need the following kit. Detailed instructions are included with the forms. The kit also includes tips about what information to include to make sure you have a strong case. Make sure you read this whole kit before filling out the forms.

This kit includes the following forms.

  • An Application: this is the document that lets the Court know what you are asking for and why you think you need the restraining order.
  • A Statement of Description: this is the document where you describe the person against whom you want the restraining order. This is will help if ever the restraining order is breached.
  • An Affidavit of Service: this is the form you will file with the Court to prove that the Respondent got the paperwork notifying them of the hearing.
  • A draft Order: this is the form the judge will sign if they grant a restraining order.

The Court of Queen’s Bench has also created a general information booklet about making applications without notice.

For some tips about what to include in your application for a restraining order, see the following resource.

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Your Legal Options.”

Tip

Before filing this paperwork, you may want to speak with a lawyer to get legal advice about what you should include in your paperwork, and what evidence you may need to provide. For more information, see the Community Legal Resources & Legal Aid Information Page and the Working with a Lawyer Information Page.

Completing the paperwork for other family law applications at the same time

You cannot combine an application for a restraining order without notice (also called “ex parte”) with other matters that do require notice.

However, you may be able to combine it with other matters that are also ex parte. If you want to do this, you will need to fill out different paperwork than if you were applying for the restraining order by itself. Contact Resolution and Court Administration Services to get the paperwork you need.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Your matter will be heard in “regular chambers” (sometimes also called “morning chambers”). These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people, including ex parte matters.

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them.

Going to chambers

Once your paperwork is filed, you can go to the next scheduled chambers hearing. In some jurisdictions, there is regular chambers every day. In other jurisdictions, it may only occur once or twice per week.

Complete the draft Order form that was included in the application kit. Bring it to court with you. If the judge agrees to grant the restraining order, they will sign the Order. The judge may make changes to it before signing it.

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will need to fill out an Ex parte form when you get to court. This is the form that tells the Court why you are applying for a restraining order without giving notice to the other party. This form is not available online. When you enter the courtroom, you can pick it up at the front of the courtroom. Once you have the form, fill it in and hand it to the court clerk before you start talking to the Court. If you don’t have time to fill it in before you talk, the Court may decide to hear you, but then you must still fill in the form and give it to the court clerk before you leave the courtroom.

The judge will first ask if there are any preliminary matters or ex parte matters—this is the time to make the request. If you do not speak at the beginning and the list starts, you will have to wait until the end of the list to get another chance to present your ex parte application. For more detailed information, see the following resource.

PDF Applying for a Family Restraining Order (Without Notice)
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 11-12.

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

After the hearing is over

When your court hearing is over, the Order granted by the judge will be typed up by the court clerk. It will be ready shortly after the hearing.

When you are given an Order, make sure it is filed with the clerks. The clerks will also give you 2 stamped copies of the Order: one for you to keep and one for you to register with the police (see below).

Remember

Because the Order was given without notice to the other party, the Order will include a “review date.” This is the date of a future hearing, where the Respondent will be able to respond to the Application. The restraining order will only be in effect until this review date. At that time, the judge will decide if the restraining order will continue. For more information about the review date, see “Preparing for the review date” below.

You are responsible for serving the other party with the Order. Do not serve the paperwork yourself. You can have someone else serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

The person who completes the service will need to complete and file an Affidavit of Service and file it with the Court. This form is included in the application kit. You will need a stamped copy of the Affidavit of Service to register with the police as well (see below).

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Registering the restraining order with the police

To register the restraining order, you will need to take the following documents to your local police or RCMP detachment.

  • A stamped copy of the restraining order
  • A copy of the Affidavit of Service to prove the final Order was served on the Respondent
  • A copy of the Statement of Description (or the original, if you still have it.

Once the Order is registered, the police can act quickly if the Respondent does not follow the Order.

If you live in Calgary or Edmonton, see the following resource for the registry office you need.

PDF Applying for a Family Restraining Order (Without Notice)
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 14.

If you live outside of Calgary or Edmonton, contact your local police or RCMP detachment.

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Reporting violations

If the Respondent does not follow the Order (this is also called “breaching” the order), it is your responsibility to report it to your local police. Even minor violations (such as an email or a text message) should be reported—they will be added to the police file and may help in taking action against the abuser in the future.

Be Aware

Victims must also follow the terms of the Order. If you breach the Order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future. Instead, if you want to be in contact with this person, you can go back to court to have the Order removed. See the “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order” section below.

Preparing for the review date

Because the Order was given without notice to the other party, the Order will include a “review date.” This is the date of a future hearing, where the Respondent will be able to respond to the Application. The original restraining order will only be in effect until this review date. At the review date, the judge will decide if the restraining order will continue.

Before the day of the review hearing, the Respondent may serve you with an Affidavit in response to your Application. In their Affidavit, the Respondent can state whether they agree or disagree with what you asked for.

If you want, you can respond to the other party’s Affidavit with an Affidavit of your own. In it, you can explain why you think a protective order should stay in place. You will use the following form.

You will need to “swear” and file the Affidavit, just as you did with the first set of documents when you applied for the restraining order. You will also need to serve your Affidavit on the Respondent, just as you served the original restraining order. Again: do not serve it yourself. Also, an Affidavit of Service will need to be completed and filed with the Court before the hearing date.

For more information, see the following resource.

PDF Applying for a Family Restraining Order (Without Notice)
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 15.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Yours is one case on the list. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.


Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

After the review hearing

When the review hearing is over, you will get at least one copy of the new Order. If the terms of the restraining order have changed, you will get a second copy to register with the police again.

Remember

Before you can register the new Order with the police, you will have to serve it on the Respondent. You will need the Affidavit of Service to register the new Order.

Responding to a Family Restraining Order without notice (preparing for the review date)

If you have been served with a restraining order, then you must follow the terms of that Order. The Order will describe what you are not allowed to do. These restrictions will be in place until the review date. You can find this review date on the Order itself.

At that review, the restraining order may be:

  • “confirmed” by the Court, which would keep the same conditions in place for a specific period of time (up to one year);
  • cancelled (revoked) by the Court and will no longer be in effect; or
  • scheduled to be reconsidered at a different hearing at a later date.

For an overview of your options, see the following resource.

Web Respond to a Restraining Order Without Notice
Government of Alberta
English

If you agree with what is being asked for

If you agree with the terms of the restraining order, you do not have to file any paperwork. However, you will likely still want to go to the review date (unless your lawyer tells you not to). You never know what will happen in court, and if there are any questions or unplanned issues, it is good for the parties to be there.

If you disagree with what is being asked for: Completing a Response

If you disagree with the terms of the restraining order that is being reviewed, you can fill out paperwork to respond. This will allow you to tell your side of the story. To do this, you will file an “Affidavit in Response.”

 

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English
 

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

 

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

 

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Applicant. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. You must serve the Applicant a “reasonable time” before the court date. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible.

You cannot serve the Applicant yourself. Someone else must serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

If the Applicant has a lawyer, the paperwork can be delivered to the lawyer’s address. If the Applicant does not have a lawyer, the paperwork must be delivered to the Applicant’s address.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

 

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Service. This form must be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Plan to go to the review

The Restraining Order tells you when and where court will be held. Go to that hearing. If you do not go to court on that day, the Court may make an order without you there.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Yours is one case on the list. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.

PDF Making a Court Application in the Court of Queen's Bench (With an Application Form)
Government of Alberta
English
This booklet was written for Applicants, but the general information about going to court applies to Respondents too. See p. 15-18.

Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

After the hearing is over

If an order is granted in court, you can pick up your copy of the Order from the court clerks after the hearing. If you don’t, the Order will be served on you.

If the restraining order is granted, the Order will also be registered with the police and the RCMP.

You must follow the terms of this Order. If you do not, the police can get involved and you may be fined or jailed. It does not matter if the other person agreed to break the terms of the Order, or even contacted you first: you will be the one who suffers the consequences.

Applying for a Family Restraining Order with notice

Remember

There are 4 options for restraining orders in Alberta. Be sure you read the “Applying for a restraining order: Your options” section above to find out which restraining order you need to apply for.

Are you eligible?

You can apply for a Family Restraining Order with notice, if:

  • you want protection from your current or former spouse or Adult Interdependent Partner;
  • you have a “reasonable” fear that the person you want to be protected from will cause you or your children physical harm; and
  • you believe that it would not be dangerous for you to give this person advance notice of your application.

For more information about these requirements, see the Law tab of this Information Page.

Completing the paperwork

To ask for a Family Restraining Order with notice, you will need the following kit. Detailed instructions are included with the forms. The kit also includes tips about what information to include to make sure you have a strong case. Make sure you read this whole kit before filling out the forms.

This kit includes:

  • An Application: this is the document that lets the Court know what you are asking for.
  • An Affidavit: this is the document that lets the Court know why you think you need the restraining order.
  • A Statement of Description: this is the document where you describe the person against whom you want the restraining order. This is will help if the restraining order is ever breached.
  • An Affidavit of Service: this is the form you will file with the Court to prove that the Respondent got the paperwork notifying them of the hearing.
  • A draft Order: this is the form the judge will sign if they grant a restraining order.

For some tips about what to include in your application for a restraining order, see the following resource.

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Your Legal Options.”

Tip

Before filing this paperwork, you may want to speak with a lawyer to get legal advice about what you should include in your paperwork, and what evidence you may need to provide. For more information, see the Community Legal Resources & Legal Aid Information Page and the Working with a Lawyer Information Page.

Completing the paperwork for other family law applications at the same time

If you want to combine this application with other family law applications, you will need to fill out different paperwork than if you were applying for the restraining order by itself. Contact Resolution and Court Administration Services to get the paperwork you need.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For general information about how to make applications for other family-related matters, see the Information Pages for each topic.

The rest of this section will describe how to apply for a restraining order on its own.

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork and choosing a court date

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

At the courthouse, and with the help of a court clerk, you will be able to pick a court date. When choosing a date, you will need to factor in the amount of notice that you need to give the other party (see the “Serving the paperwork” section below). You also need to give the other party enough time to respond to your application.

If you are applying for other things (such as parenting time and support), you may want to consider choosing a court date that works for all of the applications. However, different applications have different timelines. This might cause a delay. For example, if the Respondent is being asked to disclose financial information, they have longer to respond, and the court hearing will be later.

Your matter will be scheduled in “chambers.” This is where one judge sits in an open courtroom (meaning anyone can come in) and hears a list of different matters by different people. Yours is one case on the list.

Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may have to appear in court in regular chambers (also called “morning” chambers) or in special chambers (also called “afternoon” chambers). The court clerk will help you figure out what time you are to appear.

  • Regular chambers is for matters where each party can present their side in 10 minutes or less (for a total of 20 minutes).
  • Special chambers is for matters that require more than 20 minutes in total.

Be Aware

The rules for regular chambers are very different than the rules for special chambers. For example: in special chambers, the parties must send in a specific document called a “confirming letter.” Also, there are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling, paperwork, and deadlines. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource.

After you have picked a court date, write down the court date on the first page of all of the copies of your application. The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed and filed, you will need to “serve” it on the Respondent. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. This is to notify them that a hearing is taking place. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible. This is also a very important step, because if the paperwork is not properly served, the judge might not hear your matter.

There are time limits in which you must complete the service. In general, the service must be completed 10 days or more before the date of the hearing. Be sure to check with court staff about what your time limits are.

Do not serve the paperwork yourself. You can have someone else serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the following resource.

PDF Serving Documents on an Abusive Party
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party: you must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an “Affidavit of Personal Service,” which is included in the application kit above. This form is to be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Get ready for the response

Before the court date, the other party may be serving you with their Response. They must respond in a “reasonable” amount of time. You will need to read this paperwork to ensure that you are ready for your court date.

There are 2 ways the other party can respond.

  1. They can file an Affidavit in response to your Application. In their Affidavit, the Respondent can state whether they agree or disagree with what you asked for. However, the Respondent is not allowed to ask for anything of their own in an Affidavit. They should serve this Affidavit a “reasonable” amount of time before the court date. What counts as “reasonable” may be different depending on your location—contact the court clerks in your judicial centre for the rules in your area.
  2. They can file an Affidavit in response to your application, and file an “Application” of their own, in order to “ask for” something of their own. This is called a “cross-application.” This starts another Application, and an entirely new round of responses.

Do you need to respond to the other party’s Response?

If the other party responded with only an Affidavit

If the other party only filed an Affidavit, and you want to respond to the information in that Affidavit, you may be able to file a Supplemental Affidavit.

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits you are allowed in chambers. You will likely have to ask for the Court’s permission before filing a Supplemental Affidavit. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they are not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be adjourned (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

If the other party responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

You are now the Applicant in your own Application, and the Respondent in the other party’s Application.

Tip

When there are cross-applications, it gets very confusing as to which documents go with which Applications, and whose turn it is to do what. As a result, it is helpful to: keep all of the paperwork together, keep things well organized (for example: in a binder), mark deadlines and court hearings on a calendar, and even draw a little chart for yourself, if you need to.

As a result, it is now your turn to file a “Response” to the new Application (see the “Responding to a Family Restraining Order with Notice” section below). The other party will then be able to file the Supplemental Affidavit to your response, if they want to (as described above).

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Plan to go to the chambers hearing

When you filed your paperwork with the Court, you were given a court date and time. You need to be there on that day. If you cannot attend in person, you may be able to attend by video or telephone. Contact the court clerks well before the hearing date to arrange that.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Preparing for the chambers hearing

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing, and show up early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Chambers is where applications take place. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.

PDF Applying for a Family Restraining Order (On Notice to the other party)
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 15-18.


Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court, or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

Adjournments for restraining order hearings are not common. This is because it may not be safe to delay the hearing if the victim is in danger.

If both of you agree, you can arrange for an adjournment well in advance of the court hearing date. To find out how to do that, call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

Be Aware

For matters in special chambers, there are additional rules about asking for adjournments. These rules are very specific and strict, and they are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

In regular chambers, it is also possible to ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. If both parties agree, you can ask for an adjournment before the chambers list begins. (More information on chambers is on the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.) The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

When your court hearing is over, in most cases, the Order granted by the judge will be typed up by the court clerk. It will be ready shortly after the hearing.

When you are given an Order, make sure it is filed with the clerks. The clerks will also give you 2 stamped copies of the Order: one for you to keep and one for you to register with the police (see below).

Serving the Respondent

If the Respondent was in court and waits to get their copy of the Order, then they have been served (and the Order will make that clear).

If the Respondent did not come to court, or left before getting their copy of the Order, then you are responsible for having them served with the Order. The person who completes the service would then need to complete and file an Affidavit of Service. You will need a stamped copy of the Affidavit of Service to register with the police as well (see below).

Registering the Restraining Order with the police

To register the Restraining Order, you will need to take the following documents to your local police or RCMP detachment.

  • A stamped copy of the Restraining Order
  • A copy of the Affidavit of Service to prove the final Order was served on the Respondent
  • A copy of the Statement of Description (or the original, if you still have it)

Once the Order is registered, the police can act quickly if the Respondent does not follow the Order.

If you live in Calgary or Edmonton, see the following resource for the registry office you need.

If you live outside of Calgary or Edmonton, contact your local police or RCMP detachment.

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Reporting violations

If the Respondent does not follow the Order (this is also called “breaching” the order), it is your responsibility to report it to your local police. Even minor violations (such as an email or a text message) should be reported—they will be added to the police file and may help in taking action against the abuser in the future.

Be Aware

Victims must also follow the terms of the Order. If you breach the Order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future. Instead, if you want to be in contact with this person, you can go back to court to have the Order removed. See the “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order” section below.

Responding to a Family Restraining Order with notice

You have been served with forms telling you that there will be an Application made for a restraining order. In these forms, you have been notified of the date of the court hearing.

  • If you agree with everything that is in those documents, you do not need to complete a response.
  • If you disagree with anything that is in those documents, you will need to complete a Response.

In addition to the restraining order application, the other party may be making other family-related requests. For example, requests about divorce, parenting time, or support. Be sure to read the documents carefully so that you know exactly what is being asked for.

For information about how to respond to Applications for other family-related matters, see the Information Pages for each topic.

For information about how to combine your responses, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

If you agree with what is being asked for

If you agree with what is being asked for, you do not have to file any paperwork. However, you will likely still want to go to the review hearing (unless your lawyer tells you not to). You never know what will happen in court, and if there are any questions or unplanned issues, it is good for the parties to be there.

If you disagree with what is being asked for: Completing a Response

If you disagree with what is being asked for, you have 2 choices:

  1. File only an Affidavit. You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, but you are not asking for anything specific of your own, or if it is not clear what the other party is asking for.
  2. File an Affidavit and Application of your own (this is called a “Cross-application”). You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, and you are asking for something of your own.

 

Filing only an Affidavit

If you choose to respond to the other party’s Application with only an Affidavit, you will file an “Affidavit in Response.” Use the following form.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the length of affidavits and the kind of evidence that can go in them. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. If you want to ask for an exception to these rules, you will need ask permission of the court (and there is a very specific procedure for doing that). For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

Filing an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you are responding to the other party’s Application by filing a cross-application of your own, you will need to review the “Applying for a Family Restraining Order with notice” section above.

A few things you should know:

  • In your Affidavit, you can include facts that respond to the documents completed by the other party and the requests you are making in your own Application.
  • Usually it makes sense to choose the same hearing date as the date listed on the other party’s Application (if that is possible), so that both Applications can be heard at the same time.
  • Because there are now 2 applications with various time requirements, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delay) of your hearing to give the other party and yourself enough time to review and file all of the paperwork.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Applicant. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents.

This needs to be done within a “reasonable” time before the court hearing. You cannot serve the Applicant yourself. The person who serves the paperwork must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party: you must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an “Affidavit of Personal Service.” This form is to be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Watch for the other party’s response

If you responded with only an Affidavit

If you filed only an Affidavit, the other party may file a “Supplemental Affidavit.” Be sure to read that when you get it.

You are usually not allowed to file a Supplemental Affidavit in response to the other party’s Supplemental Affidavit. However, in rare cases, you may be able to apply for permission to do so. This is called applying for a “fiat.” This is a complicated process. Contact Resolution and Court Administration Services for more information.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

If you responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you responded with both an Affidavit and an Application of your own, the other party is now the Applicant in their Application, and the Respondent in your Application.

As the Respondent to your Application, the other party can file a “Response” to your Application. Watch for that Response, and be sure to read it when you are served with it.

When you are served with the other party’s Response to your Application, you may be able to file a “Supplemental Affidavit.”

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they are not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be “adjourned” (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Chambers is where applications take place. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.

PDF Making a Court Application in the Court of Queen's Bench (With an Application Form)
Government of Alberta
English
This booklet was written for Applicants, but the general information about going to court applies to Respondents too. See p. 15-18.

Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

Adjournments for restraining order hearings are not common. This is because it may not be safe to delay the hearing if the victim is in danger.

If both of you agree, you can arrange for an adjournment well in advance of the court hearing date. To find out how to do that, call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

Be Aware

For matters in special chambers, there are additional rules about asking for adjournments. These rules are very specific and strict, and they are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

In regular chambers, it is also possible to ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. If both parties agree, you can ask for an adjournment before the chambers list begins. (More information on chambers is on the Understanding the Court Process Information Page). The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

If an order is granted in court, you can pick up your copy of the Order from the court clerks after the hearing. If you don’t, the Order will be served on you.

If the restraining order is granted, the Order will also be registered with the police and the RCMP.

You must follow the terms of this Order. If you do not, the police can get involved and you may be fined or jailed. It does not matter if the other person agreed to break the terms of the Order, or even contacted you first: you will be the one who suffers the consequences.

Applying for a Non-Family Restraining Order without notice

Remember

There are 4 options for restraining orders in Alberta. Be sure you read the “Applying for a restraining order: Your options” section above to find out which restraining order you need to apply for.

Are you eligible?

You can only apply for a Non-Family Restraining Order without notice, if:

  • you want protection from someone other than your current or former spouse or Adult Interdependent Partner;
  • you have a “reasonable” fear that the person you want to be protected from will cause you or your children physical harm; and
  • it would be dangerous for you to give this person advance notice of your application.

For more information about these requirements, see the Law tab of this Information Page.

Completing the paperwork

To ask for a Non-Family Restraining Order without notice, you will need to fill out the forms listed below.

Statement of Claim

This is the form that starts the court action. There is no filing fee if you are only asking for a restraining order. For instructions on how to complete this form, click on the blue box called “Instruction” at the top of the form. This form will need to be served with the Restraining Order, if you get one.

PDF Claim - Family Law Act (Form FL-10 / CTS3459)
Government of Alberta
English
This link only opens in Internet Explorer. Learn how you can view this form in Chrome and Firefox.
 

Affidavit

This is the form that tells the Court why you are applying for a restraining order. In other words, what has the other person done that makes you feel this is necessary? You can include supporting documents that provide evidence of what the person has done to you.

 

Ex parte form

This is the form that tells the Court why you are applying for a restraining order without giving notice to the other party. This form is not available online. When you enter the courtroom, you can pick it up at the front of the courtroom. Once you have the form, fill it in and hand it to the court clerk before you start talking to the Court. If you don’t have time to fill it in before you talk, the Court may decide to hear you, but then you must still fill in the form and give it to the court clerk before you leave the courtroom.

The Court of Queen’s Bench has also created a general information booklet about making applications without notice.

For some tips about what to include in your application for a restraining order, see the following resource.

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Your Legal Options.”

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and at least 2 copies of everything at the Court of Queen’s Bench in your judicial centre. You will need to file your paperwork during regular courthouse hours.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Your matter will be heard in “regular chambers” (sometimes also called “morning chambers”). These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people, including ex parte matters.

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them.

Going to chambers

Once your paperwork is filed, you can go to the next scheduled chambers hearing. In some jurisdictions, there is regular chambers every day. In other jurisdictions, it may only occur once or twice per week.

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

Before getting to the first matter on the list, the judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters or ex parte matters—this is the time to make the request. If you do not speak at the beginning and the list starts, you will have to wait until the end of the list to get another chance to present your ex parte application. For more detailed information, see the following resource.

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

After the hearing is over

When your court hearing is over, the Order granted by the judge will be typed up by the court clerk. It will be ready shortly after the hearing.

When you are given an Order, make sure it is filed with the clerks. The clerks will also give you 2 stamped copies of the Order: one for you to keep and one for you to register with the police (see below).

Remember

Because the Order was given without notice to the other party, the Order will include a “review date.” This is the date of a future hearing, where the Respondent will be able to respond to the Application. The restraining order will only be in effect until this review date. At that time, the judge will decide if the restraining order will continue. For more information about the review date, see “Preparing for the review date” below.

You are responsible for serving the other party with the Order. Do not serve the paperwork yourself. You can have someone else serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

The person who completes the service will need to complete and file an Affidavit of Service and file it with the Court. The form you need is below. You will need a stamped copy of the Affidavit of Service to register with the police as well (see below).

Registering the restraining order with the police

To register the Restraining Order, you will need to take the following documents to your local police or RCMP detachment.

  • A stamped copy of the Restraining Order
  • A copy of the Affidavit of Service to prove the final Order was served on the Respondent
  • A copy of the Statement of Description (or the original, if you still have it)

Once the Order is registered, the police can act quickly if the Respondent does not follow the Order.

If you live in Calgary or Edmonton, see the following resource for the registry office you need.

PDF Applying for a Family Restraining Order (Without Notice)
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 14.

If you live outside of Calgary or Edmonton, contact your local police or RCMP detachment.

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Reporting violations

If the Respondent does not follow the Order (this is also called “breaching” the order), it is your responsibility to report it to your local police. Even minor violations (such as an email or a text message) should be reported—they will be added to the police file and may help in taking action against the abuser in the future.

Be Aware

Victims must also follow the terms of the Order. If you breach the Order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future. Instead, if you want to be in contact with this person, you can go back to court to have the Order removed. See the “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order” section below.

Preparing for the review date

Because the Order was given without notice to the other party, the Order will include a “review date.” This is the date of a future hearing, where the Respondent will be able to respond to the Application. The original restraining order will only be in effect until this review date. At the review date, the judge will decide if the restraining order will be continued.

Before the day of the review hearing, the Respondent may serve you with an Affidavit in response to your Application. In their Affidavit, the Respondent can state whether they agree or disagree with what you asked for.

If you want, you can respond to the other party’s Affidavit with an Affidavit of your own. In it, you can explain why you think a protective order should stay in place. You will use the following form.

You will need to “swear” and file the Affidavit, just as you did with the first set of documents when you applied for the restraining order. You will also need to serve your Affidavit on the Respondent, just as you served the original restraining order. Again: do not serve it yourself. Also, an Affidavit of Service will need to be completed and filed with the Court before the hearing date.

Responding to a Non-Family Restraining Order without notice (preparing for the review date)

If you have been served with a restraining order, then you must follow the terms of that Order. The Order will describe what you are not allowed to do. These restrictions will be in place until the review date. You can find this review date on the Order itself.

At that review, the restraining order may be:

  • “confirmed” by the Court, which would keep the same conditions in place for a specific period of time (up to one year);
  • cancelled (revoked) by the Court and will no longer be in effect; or
  • scheduled to be reconsidered at a different hearing at a later date.

For an overview of your options, see the following resource.

Web Respond to a Restraining Order Without Notice
Government of Alberta
English

If you agree with what is being asked for

If you agree with the terms of the restraining order, you do not have to file any paperwork. However, you will likely still want to go to the review date (unless your lawyer tells you not to). You never know what will happen in court, and if there are any questions or unplanned issues, it is good for the parties to be there.

If you disagree with what is being asked for: Completing a Response

If you disagree with the terms of the restraining order that is being reviewed, you can fill out paperwork to respond. This will allow you to tell your side of the story. To do this, you will file an “Affidavit in Response.”

If the only thing being asked for is the restraining order, then you probably don’t need to file a Statement of Defence. If something else in addition to the restraining order is also being asked for, then the situation is more complicated and you may need a Statement of Defence. For help with this, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

The rest of this section deals with how you respond if there is no Statement of Defence required.

 

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English
 

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

 

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Applicant. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. You must serve the Applicant a “reasonable time” before the court date. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible.

You cannot serve the Applicant yourself. Someone else must serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

If the Applicant has a lawyer, the paperwork can be delivered to the lawyer’s address. If the Applicant does not have a lawyer, the paperwork must be delivered to the Applicant’s address.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Service. This form must be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Plan to go to the review

The restraining order tells you when and where court will be held. Go to that hearing. If you do not go to court on that day, the Court may make an order without you there.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.

PDF Making a Court Application in the Court of Queen's Bench (With an Application Form)
Government of Alberta
English
This booklet was written for Applicants, but the general information about going to court applies to Respondents too. See p. 15-18.

Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

After the hearing is over

If an order is granted in court, you can pick up your copy of the Order from the court clerks after the hearing. If you don’t, the Order will be served on you.

If the restraining order is granted, the Order will also be registered with the police and the RCMP.

You must follow the terms of this Order. If you do not, the police can get involved and you may be fined or jailed. It does not matter if the other person agreed to break the terms of the Order, or even contacted you first: you will be the one who suffers the consequences.

Applying for a Non-Family Restraining Order with notice

Remember

There are 4 options for restraining orders in Alberta. Be sure you read the “Applying for a restraining order: Your options” section above to find out which restraining order you need to apply for.

You can apply for a Family Restraining Order with notice, if:

  • you want protection from someone other than your current or former spouse or Adult Interdependent Partner;
  • you have a “reasonable” fear that the person you want to be protected from will cause you or your children physical harm; and
  • you believe that it would not be dangerous for you to give this person advance notice of your application.

For more information about these requirements, see the Law tab of this Information Page.

Completing the paperwork

To ask for a Non-Family Restraining Order with notice, you will need to fill out the forms listed below.

Statement of Claim

This is the form that starts the court action. There is no filing fee if you are only asking for a restraining order. For instructions on how to complete this form, click on the blue box called “Instruction” at the top of the form. This form will need to be served with the Restraining Order, if you get one.

PDF Claim - Family Law Act (Form FL-10 / CTS3459)
Government of Alberta
English
This link only opens in Internet Explorer. Learn how you can view this form in Chrome and Firefox.
 

Affidavit

This is the form that tells the Court why you are applying for a restraining order. In other words, what has the other person done that makes you feel this is necessary? You can include supporting documents that provide evidence of what the person has done to you.

For some tips about what to include in your application for a restraining order, see the following resource.

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Your Legal Options.”

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork and choosing a court date

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and at least 2 copies of everything (one copy of each document for you and one copy for the respondent) at the Court of Queen’s Bench in your judicial centre:

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

At the courthouse, and with the help of a court clerk, you will be able to pick a court date. When choosing a date, you will need to factor in the amount of notice that you need to give the other party (see the “Serving the paperwork” section below). You also need to give the other party enough time to respond to your application.

Your matter will be scheduled in “chambers.” These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Yours is one case on the list.

Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may have to appear in court in regular chambers (also called “morning” chambers) or in special chambers (also called “afternoon” chambers). The court clerk will help you figure out what time you are to appear.

  • Regular chambers is for matters where each party can present their side in 10 minutes or less (for a total of 20 minutes).
  • Special chambers is for matters that require more than 20 minutes in total.

Be Aware

The rules for regular chambers are very different than the rules for special chambers. For example: in special chambers, the parties must send in a specific document called a “confirming letter.” Also, there are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling, paperwork, and deadlines. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource.

After you have picked a court date, write down the court date on the first page of all of the copies of your Claim. The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed and filed, you will need to “serve” it on the Respondent. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. This is to notify them that a hearing is taking place. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible. This is also a very important step, because if the paperwork is not properly served, the judge might not hear your matter.

There are time limits in which you must complete the service. In general, the service must be completed 10 days or more before the date of the hearing. Be sure to check with court staff about what your time limits are.

Do not serve the paperwork yourself. You can have someone else serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the following resource.

PDF Serving Documents on an Abusive Party
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party: you must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an “Affidavit of Personal Service.” This form is to be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Get ready for the response

Before the court date, the other party may be serving you with their Response. They must respond in a “reasonable” amount of time. You will need to read this paperwork to ensure that you are ready for your court date.

There are 2 ways the other party can respond.

  1. They can file an Affidavit in response to your Application. In their Affidavit, the Respondent can state whether they agree or disagree with what you asked for. However, the Respondent is not allowed to ask for anything of their own in an Affidavit. they should serve this Affidavit a “reasonable” amount of time before the court date. What counts as “reasonable” may be different depending on your location—contact the court clerks in your judicial centre for the rules in your area.
  2. They can file an Affidavit in response to your application, and file an “Application” of their own, in order to “ask for” something of their own. This is called a “cross-application.” This starts another Application, and an entirely new round of responses.

Do you need to respond to the other party’s Response?

If the other party responded with only an Affidavit

If the other party only filed an Affidavit, and you want to respond to the information in that Affidavit, you may be able to file a Supplemental Affidavit.

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits you are allowed in chambers. You will likely have to ask for the Court’s permission before filing a Supplemental Affidavit. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they is not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be adjourned (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

If the other party responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

You are now the Applicant in your own Application, and the Respondent in the other party’s Application.

Tip

When there are cross-applications, it gets very confusing as to which documents go with which Applications, and whose turn it is to do what. As a result, it is helpful to: keep all of the paperwork together, keep things well organized (for example: in a binder), mark deadlines and court hearings on a calendar, and even draw a little chart for yourself, if you need to.

As a result, it is now your turn to file a “Response” to the new Application (see the “Responding to a Non-Family Restraining Order with notice” section below). The other party will then be able to file the Supplemental Affidavit to your response, if they wants to (as described above).

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Plan to go to the chambers hearing

When you filed your paperwork with the Court, you were given a court date and time. You need to be there on that day. If you cannot attend in person, you may be able to attend by video or telephone. Contact the court clerks well before the hearing date to arrange that.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Preparing for the chambers hearing

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing, and show up early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Chambers is where applications take place. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.


Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court, or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

Adjournments for restraining order hearings are not common. This is because it may not be safe to delay the hearing if the victim is in danger.

If both of you agree, you can arrange for an adjournment well in advance of the court hearing date. To find out how to do that, call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

Be Aware

For matters in special chambers, there are additional rules about asking for adjournments. These rules are very specific and strict, and they are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

In regular chambers, it is also possible to ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. If both parties agree, you can ask for an adjournment before the chambers list begins. (More information on chambers is on the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.) The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

When your court hearing is over, in most cases, the Order granted by the judge will be typed up by the court clerk. It will be ready shortly after the hearing.

When you are given an Order, make sure it is filed with the clerks. The clerks will also give you 2 stamped copies of the Order: one for you to keep and one for you to register with the police (see below).

Serving the Respondent

If the Respondent was in court and waits to get their copy of the Order, then they have been served (and the Order will make that clear).

If the Respondent did not come to court, or left before getting their copy of the Order, then you are responsible for having them served with the Order. The person who completes the service would then need to complete and file an Affidavit of Service. You will need a stamped copy of the Affidavit of Service to register with the police as well (see below).

Registering the Restraining Order with the police

To register the Restraining Order, you will need to take the following documents to your local police or RCMP detachment.

  • A stamped copy of the Restraining Order
  • A copy of the Affidavit of Service to prove the final Order was served on the Respondent
  • A copy of the Statement of Description (or the original, if you still have it)

Once the Order is registered, the police can act quickly if the Respondent does not follow the Order.

If you live in Calgary or Edmonton, see the following resource for the registry office you need.

PDF Applying for a Family Restraining Order (Without Notice)
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 14.

If you live outside of Calgary or Edmonton, contact your local police or RCMP detachment.

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Reporting violations

If the Respondent does not follow the Order (this is also called “breaching” the order), it is your responsibility to report it to your local police. Even minor violations (such as an email or a text message) should be reported—they will be added to the police file and may help in taking action against the abuser in the future.

Be Aware

Victims must also follow the terms of the Order. If you breach the Order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future. Instead, if you want to be in contact with this person, you can go back to court to have the Order removed. See the “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order” section below.

Responding to a Non-Family Restraining Order with notice

You have been served with forms telling you that there will be an Application made for a restraining order. In these forms, you have been notified of the date of the court hearing.

  • If you agree with everything that is in those documents, you do not need to complete a response.
  • If you disagree with anything that is in those documents, you will need to complete a Response.

If you agree with what is being asked for

If you agree with what is being asked for, you do not have to file any paperwork. However, you will likely still want to go to the review hearing (unless your lawyer tells you not to). You never know what will happen in court, and if there are any questions or unplanned issues, it is good for the parties to be there.

If you disagree with what is being asked for: Completing a Response

If the only thing being asked for is the restraining order, then you probably don’t need to file a Statement of Defence. If something else in addition to the restraining order is also being asked for, then the situation is more complicated and you may need a Statement of Defence. For help with this, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

The rest of this section deals with how you respond if there is no Statement of Defence required.

If you disagree with what is being asked for, you have 2 choices:

  1. File only an Affidavit. You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, but you are not asking for anything specific of your own, or if it is not clear what the other party is asking for.
  2. File an Affidavit and Application of your own (this is called a “Cross-Application”). You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, and you are asking for something of your own.

Filing only an Affidavit

If you choose to respond to the other party’s Application with only an Affidavit, you will file an “Affidavit in Response.” See the following form.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the length of affidavits and the kind of evidence that can go in them. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. If you want to ask for an exception to these rules, you will need ask permission of the court (and there is a very specific procedure for doing that). For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

Filing an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you are responding to the other party’s Application by filing a Cross-Application of your own, you will need to review the “Applying for a Non-Family Restraining Order with notice” section above.

A few things you should know:

  • In your Affidavit, you can include facts that respond to the documents completed by the other party and the requests you are making in your own Application.
  • Usually it makes sense to choose the same hearing date as the date listed on the other party’s Application (if that is possible), so that both Applications can be heard at the same time.
  • Because there are now 2 Applications with various time requirements, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delay) of your hearing to give the other party and yourself enough time to review and file all of the paperwork.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling Cross-Applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Applicant. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents.

This needs to be done within a “reasonable” time before the court hearing. You cannot serve the Applicant yourself. The person who serves the paperwork must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party: you must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an “Affidavit of Personal Service.” This form is to be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Watch for the other party’s response

If you responded with only an Affidavit

If you filed only an Affidavit, the other party may file a “Supplemental Affidavit.” Be sure to read that when you get it.

You are usually not allowed to file a Supplemental Affidavit in response to the other party’s Supplemental Affidavit. However, in rare cases, you may be able to apply for permission to do so. This is called applying for a “fiat.” This is a complicated process. Contact Resolution and Court Administration Services for more information.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

If you responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you responded with both an Affidavit and an Application of your own, the other party is now the Applicant in their Application, and the Respondent in your Application.

As the Respondent to your Application, the other party can file a “Response” to your Application. Watch for that Response, and be sure to read it when you are served with it.

When you are served with the other party’s Response to your Application, you may be able to file a “Supplemental Affidavit.”

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they are not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be adjourned (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

You will be appearing in “chambers” in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Chambers is where applications take place. These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may be in court in the morning or the afternoon. For more information on chambers, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

For most people, going to court will be a brand new experience. It may also come as a bit of surprise. Being in court is not really as it appears on most television shows, and you will likely not be familiar with the rules of court (yes, there are rules!). Also, most people find that dealing with family issues in court is stressful.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to prepare for the court experience. See the following resources for information about preparing for court in Queen’s Bench.

PDF Making a Court Application in the Court of Queen's Bench (With an Application Form)
Government of Alberta
English
This booklet was written for Applicants, but the general information about going to court applies to Respondents too. See p. 15-18.

Web Courtroom etiquette
Government of Alberta
English

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

Adjournments for restraining order hearings are not common. This is because it may not be safe to delay the hearing if the victim is in danger.

If both of you agree, you can arrange for an adjournment well in advance of the court hearing date. To find out how to do that, call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

Be Aware

For matters in special chambers, there are additional rules about asking for adjournments. These rules are very specific and strict, and they are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

In regular chambers, it is also possible to ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. If both parties agree, you can ask for an adjournment before the chambers list begins. (More information on chambers is on the Understanding the Court Process Information Page). The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

If an order is granted in court, you can pick up your copy of the Order from the court clerks after the hearing. If you don’t, the Order will be served on you.

If the restraining order is granted, the Order will also be registered with the police and the RCMP.

You must follow the terms of this Order. If you do not, the police can get involved and you may be fined or jailed. It does not matter if the other person agreed to break the terms of the Order, or even contacted you first: you will be the one who suffers the consequences.

Applying to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order

Queen's Bench

To change, cancel, or extend a restraining order, you will need to apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Completing the Application

To apply, use the following forms:

  • An Application: this is the document that lets the Court know what you are asking for.
  • An Affidavit: this is the document where you tell the Court why you are making your request.

These documents are found in the following kit.

Making other Applications at the same time

You can also make family law Applications at the same time. For example, you could apply for parenting time, child support, partner support, or property division.

For information about how to apply in Queen’s Bench for other family-related matters, see the Information Pages for each topic.

For information about how to combine Applications, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork and choosing a court date

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

At the courthouse, and with the help of a court clerk, you will be able to pick a court date. When choosing a date, you will need to factor in the amount of notice that you need to give the other party (see the “Serving the paperwork” section below). You also need to give the other party enough time to respond to your application.

If you are applying for other things (such as parenting time and support), you may want to consider choosing a court date that works for all of the applications. However, different applications have different timelines. This might cause a delay. For example, if the Respondent is being asked to disclose financial information, they have longer to respond, and the court hearing will be later.

Your matter will be scheduled in “chambers.” These hearings are in courtrooms that are open to the public, where the judge hears a list of different cases by different people. Yours is one case on the list.

Depending on your location and the amount of time your matter is expected to take, you may have to appear in court in regular chambers (also called “morning” chambers) or in special chambers (also called “afternoon” chambers). The court clerk will help you figure out what time you are to appear.

  • Regular chambers is for matters where each party can present their side in 10 minutes or less (for a total of 20 minutes).
  • Special chambers is for matters that require more than 20 minutes in total.

Be Aware

The rules for regular chambers are very different than the rules for special chambers. For example: in special chambers, the parties must send in a specific document called a “confirming letter.” Also, there are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling, paperwork, and deadlines. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource.

After you have picked a court date, write down the court date on the first page of all of the copies of your Application. The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed and filed, you will need to “serve” it on the Respondent. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents. This is to notify them that a hearing is taking place. This means you have to make sure that they get the notice as soon as possible. This is also a very important step, because if the paperwork is not properly served, the judge might not hear your matter.

There are time limits in which you must complete the service. In general, the service must be completed 10 days or more before the date of the hearing. Be sure to check with court staff about what your time limits are.

Do not serve the paperwork yourself. You can have someone else serve it for you. This person must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the following resource.

PDF Serving Documents on an Abusive Party
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party: you must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Personal Service, which is included in the application kit above. This form is to be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Get ready for the response

Before the court date, the other party may be serving you with their Response. They must respond in a “reasonable” amount of time. You will need to read this paperwork to ensure that you are ready for your court date.

There are 2 ways the other party can respond.

  1. They can file an Affidavit in response to your Application. In their Affidavit, the Respondent can state whether they agree or disagree with what you asked for. However, the Respondent is not allowed to ask for anything of their own in an Affidavit. They should serve this Affidavit a “reasonable” amount of time before the court date. What counts as “reasonable” may be different depending on your location—contact the court clerks in your judicial centre for the rules in your area.
  2. They can file an Affidavit in response to your application, and file an “Application” of their own, in order to “ask for” something of their own. This is called a “cross-application.” This starts another Application, and an entirely new round of responses.

Do you need to respond to the other party’s Response?

If the other party responded with only an Affidavit

If you want to respond to the information in the Respondent’s Affidavit, you may be able to file a “Supplemental Affidavit.”

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits you are allowed in chambers. You will likely have to ask for the Court’s permission before filing a Supplemental Affidavit. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, they are not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be adjourned (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

If the other party responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

You are now the Applicant in your own Application, and the Respondent in the other party’s Application.

Tip

When there are cross-applications, it gets very confusing as to which documents go with which Applications, and whose turn it is to do what. As a result, it is helpful to: keep all of the paperwork together, keep things well organized (for example: in a binder), mark deadlines and court hearings on a calendar, and even draw a little chart for yourself, if you need to.

As a result, it is now your turn to file a “Response” to the new Application (see the “Responding to an Application to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order” section below). The other party will then be able to file the Supplemental Affidavit to your response, if they want to (as described above).

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Plan to go to the chambers hearing

When you filed your paperwork with the Court, you were given a court date and time. You need to be there on that day. If you cannot attend in person, you may be able to attend by video or telephone. Contact the court clerks well before the hearing date to arrange that.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing, and show up early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

When the terms of the Restraining Order are still urgent, adjournments are not common.

If both of you agree, you can arrange for an adjournment well in advance of the court hearing date. To find out how to do that, call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

Be Aware

For matters in special chambers, there are additional rules about asking for adjournments. These rules are very specific and strict, and they are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

In regular chambers, it is also possible to ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. If both parties agree, you can ask for an adjournment before the chambers list begins. (More information on chambers is on the Understanding the Court Process Information Page. The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

When your court hearing is over, in most cases, the Order granted by the judge will be typed up by the court clerk. It will be ready shortly after the hearing.

When you are given an Order, make sure it is filed with the clerks.

  • If the Order that is granted terminates the previous Order, the clerks will give you one stamped copy.
  • If your Order remains in place, the clerks will give you 2 stamped copies of the Order: one for you to keep and one for you to register with the police (see below).

Serving the Respondent

If the Respondent was in court and waits to get their copy of the Order, then they have been served (and the Order will make that clear).

If the Respondent did not come to court, or left before getting their copy of the Order, then you are responsible for having them served with the Order. The person who completes the service would then need to complete and file an Affidavit of Service. You will need a stamped copy of the Affidavit of Service to register with the police as well (see below).

If there is a new restraining order: Registering it with the police

If your restraining order was changed or extended, you will need to take the new Order to your local police or RCMP detachment to register it. This way, the police can act quickly if the Respondent does not follow the Order.

Reporting violations

If the Respondent does not follow the Order (this is also called “breaching” the order), it is your responsibility to report it to your local police. Even minor violations (such as an email or a text message) should be reported—they will be added to the police file and may help in taking action against the abuser in the future.

Remember

Victims must also follow the terms of the protective order. If you breach the Order, it could cause problems if you ever need a protective order again in the future. Instead, if you want to be in contact with this person, you can go back to court to have the Order removed. See the “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order” section below.

Responding to an Application to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order

You have been served with forms telling you that there will be an Application made to change, cancel or extend a restraining order. In these forms, you have been notified of the date of the court hearing.

  • If you agree with everything that is in those documents, you do not have to complete a response.
  • If you disagree with anything that is in those documents, you will need to complete a Response.

In addition to the request about the restraining order, the other party may be making other family-related requests. For example, requests about divorce, parenting time, or support. Be sure to read the documents carefully so that you know exactly what is being asked for.

For information about how to respond to Applications for other family-related matters, see the Information Pages for each topic.

For information about how to combine your Responses, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

If you agree with what is being asked for

If you agree with what is being asked for, you do not have to file any paperwork. However, you will likely still want to go to the hearing (unless your lawyer tells you not to). You never know what will happen in court, and if there are any questions or unplanned issues, it is good for the parties to be there.

If you disagree with what is being asked for: Completing a Response

If you disagree with what is being asked for, you have 2 choices:

  1. File only an Affidavit. You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, but you are not asking for anything specific of your own, or if it is not clear what the other party is asking for.
  2. File an Affidavit and Application of your own (this is called a “Cross-application”). You do this if you disagree with what the other party wants, and you are asking for something of your own.

Filing only an Affidavit

If you choose to respond to the other party’s Application with only an Affidavit, you will file an “Affidavit in Response.” See the following form.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the length of affidavits and the kind of evidence that can go in them. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. If you want to ask for an exception to these rules, you will need ask permission of the court (and there is a very specific procedure for doing that). For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

Filing an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you are responding to the other party’s Application by filing a cross-application of your own, you will need to review the “Applying to change, cancel, or extend a restraining order” section above.

A few things you should know:

  • in your Affidavit, you can include facts that respond to the documents completed by the other party and the requests you are making in your own Application;
  • usually it makes sense to choose the same hearing date as the date listed on the other party’s Application (if that is possible), so that both Applications can be heard at the same time;
  • because there are now 2 applications with various time requirements, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delay) of your hearing to give the other party and yourself enough time to review and file all of the paperwork.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about scheduling cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

Getting the paperwork checked over

Before you finalize all of your paperwork by “swearing” it (next step), you might want to have it checked over. This is to make sure that you have completed your paperwork in the way that the Court rules and directions require. This “check” is a very helpful step. If there is an error, your paperwork may be rejected and you might have to start all over again. It is much easier to have your paperwork checked before you complete the next steps. Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

“Swearing” the paperwork

Once your paperwork is filled out and checked over, you will need to complete it by properly “swearing” it. “Swearing” a document means that you are promising that everything in the document is true (as far as you know). Resolution and Court Administration Services can help with this.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

For more information about what’s involved with this step, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Filing” the paperwork

To file the paperwork, you must hand in the originals and multiple copies of everything. One copy of each document is for you and one is for the other party. Child Protective Services will also need a copy if they are involved in the case. You file the documents at the Court of Queen’s Bench in the correct judicial centre.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

The clerk will stamp and keep the original copies of all of your documents and will return the stamped copies to you. All documents must have a court stamp on them. These copies are what you will need for the next step.

“Serving” the paperwork

Once all of your paperwork is in order and properly signed, you will need to “serve” it on the Applicant. “Service” is the legal term for delivering certain kinds of documents.

This needs to be done within a “reasonable” time before the court hearing. You cannot serve the Applicant yourself. The person who serves the paperwork must be over 18 years old, and will need to deliver the paperwork in person. It can be someone you know, or you can hire someone called a “process server” for a fee.

For more information on how to serve documents, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

“Proving” that the paperwork was served

It is not enough for you to just serve the other party. You must also prove that you served the other party. To do so, the person who served the paperwork must swear an Affidavit of Personal Service. This form is to be completed by the person who completed the service, and filed before the court date. You will also need to bring a copy of this form with you to court.

Watch for the other party’s response

If you responded with only an Affidavit

If you filed only an Affidavit, the other party may file a “Supplemental Affidavit.” Be sure to read that when you get it.

You are usually not allowed to file a Supplemental Affidavit in response to the other party’s Supplemental Affidavit. However, in rare cases, you may be able to apply for permission to do so. This is called applying for a “fiat.” This is a complicated process. Contact Resolution and Court Administration Services for more information.

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about the number and length of affidavits. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English
 

If you responded with an Affidavit and a Cross-Application

If you responded with both an Affidavit and an Application of your own, the other party is now the Applicant in his or her Application, and the Respondent in your Application.

As the Respondent to your Application, the other party can file a “Response” to your Application. Watch for that Response, and be sure to read it when you are served with it.

When you are served with the other party’s Response to your Application, you may be able to file a “Supplemental Affidavit.”

You can only use a Supplemental Affidavit to change some factual information: either something that has changed since you filed your first Affidavit, or to respond to some updated facts provided by the other party. In your Supplemental Affidavit, you should explain how the information is new and why it was not available when you first completed your forms. You cannot use Supplemental Affidavits to repeat the same facts or to make arguments. For more information about the rules around Affidavits, see the Understanding the Court Process Information Page.

Be Aware

There are very detailed and strict rules about cross-applications. These rules are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen’s Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

If you were given a court hearing in regular chambers (in some areas this is called “morning chambers”), there may not be enough time to file a Supplemental Affidavit. For that reason, Supplemental Affidavits are less commonly seen in morning chambers. Supplemental Affidavits are more common in special chambers (in some areas this is called “afternoon chambers”). Regardless of which kind of chambers hearing you have, if you really need to file a Supplemental Affidavit, you may need to ask for an “adjournment” (delaying the hearing until a later date).

The form for a Supplemental Affidavit is below.

PDF Affidavit - Supplemental
Government of Alberta
English

Remember

You will need to file and serve this Supplemental Affidavit as well, so give yourself enough time. Be aware of the general rule that all documents must be filed with the Court within a “reasonable time” before the date of the court hearing. Exact timelines can vary by judicial centre. Although a judge may allow an exception to this rule, he or she is not required to do so. You risk that your matter will be “adjourned” (delayed until a later date) because you did not give the other party enough time to review your documents.

Preparing for court

Make sure you know the date and time of your hearing. Arrive early at the Courthouse so you can find the correct courtroom. When you enter the Courthouse, you can ask a staff member for directions.

Help in court

In some courthouses, you may have the option of speaking with “duty counsel.” Duty counsel are volunteer lawyers who will discuss your legal issue with you for free. This can include what the judge may think of your requests and the “merits of your claim.” There are no income restrictions to speak with duty counsel, but the service is limited. They are only at certain courthouses on certain days. Also, there may be many people waiting to speak with them. If you need to speak to duty counsel, make sure you get to the courthouse early. Check with your judicial centre to verify the times and days duty counsel will be available.

For information about what matters duty counsel can help with, and which judicial centres have duty counsel available, see the following resource.

Web Duty Counsel - Legal Assistance at Court
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Asking for an adjournment

Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, one or both of the parties will not be able to attend court or will not be prepared for court. It is possible to ask for a court hearing date to be moved. This is called an “adjournment.”

Be Aware

When the terms of the Restraining Order are still urgent, adjournments are not common.

If both of you agree, you can arrange for an adjournment well in advance of the court hearing date. To find out how to do that, call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.

Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

You must have a good reason to ask for an adjournment. The Court is not pleased if adjournments are just asked for as a delay tactic. The Court keeps track of all adjournment requests. If there are too many requests for adjournments, the Court may deny the request or even impose penalties.

Be Aware

For matters in special chambers, there are additional rules about asking for adjournments. These rules are very specific and strict, and they are not just for lawyers—you must follow them even if you are representing yourself. For more information, see the following resource and call your Court of Queen's Bench Chambers Clerk.


Web Court of Queen's Bench Location & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

In regular chambers, it is also possible to ask for an adjournment on the date of the court hearing. If both parties agree, you can ask for an adjournment before the chambers list begins. (More information on chambers is on the Understanding the Court Process Information Page. The judge will ask if there are any preliminary matters—this is the time to make the request. Judges often grant such adjournments, but not always. For example, judges may refuse an adjournment if they are concerned that one or both of you will be harmed by the adjournment, or if they feel that the adjournment option has been abused. If the other party does not agree, you must wait for your turn on the list and request an adjournment when your turn comes. The judge may or may not grant the adjournment.

Generally, when you ask for an adjournment, you must immediately decide on a new hearing date. Sometimes, however, you may not know when you will need the hearing. For example, you may need time to complete something, but are unsure how long that will take. If that is the case, you may be able to adjourn “sine die”: this means without a set date.

For more information about adjournments, see the following resource.

PDF Families and the Law: Representing Yourself in Family Court
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 28.

After the hearing is over

If the restraining order is granted, you can pick up your copy of the Order from the court clerks after the hearing. If you don’t, the Order will be served on you.

If the restraining order is granted, the Order will also be registered with the police and the RCMP.

You must follow the terms of this Order. If you do not, the police can get involved and you may be fined or jailed. It does not matter if the other person agreed to break the terms of the Order, or even contacted you first: you will be the one who suffers the consequences.

Asking for a peace bond

If you want to ask that a peace bond be ordered against someone else, you will first need to contact the police with a criminal complaint about that person. You will have to explain why you are afraid of that person.

“Criminal” complaints include such things as:

  • threats
  • assault
  • intimidation
  • stalking or
  • harassment

The police will investigate the complaint, and take a witness statement from you. They will then either:

  • press criminal charges against the abuser, and the abuser would be arrested and would have to appear in court; or
  • not press criminal charges against the abuser, but they will have a police file number and witness statement from you. You will need to get copies of these if you want to ask for a peace bond against the abuser.

The police and the Crown Prosecutor will then tell you what will happen, and what you need to do next.

For more information about asking for a peace bond, see the following resources.

PDF What you need to know about... Peace Bonds
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Protective Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Peace Bonds
Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society
English

PDF Peace Bond or a Restraining Order
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

Audio/Web Peace Bonds
Calgary Legal Guidance
English

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English

Web Assault
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Legal Options Available to the Victim.”

If the police press criminal charges

If the police press criminal charges, then you do not need to apply for a peace bond.

Instead, a peace bond may be ordered at a first court hearing as part of the abuser’s punishment. You will need to go to that hearing. That is where you can let the Crown Prosecutor know what terms you want on the peace bond to protect you and your family.

At this first hearing, a peace bond may be granted as a way for the abuser to avoid criminal charges if they promise to “keep the peace” and follow any other terms that the judge orders.

However, the abuser may deny your claims against them. If this happens, another hearing will be scheduled. That hearing may not take place for several months. You will have to go to that hearing as well. If you have any witnesses that you want to attend, you will have to arrange that through the Crown Prosecutor. This is part of the criminal process.

If there is a trial about the criminal charges, it will usually be scheduled several weeks or months later, and a peace bond may be ordered at that point. Or, the Court may include a “no contact order” as part of the abuser’s release conditions or sentence. The victim should speak with the Crown Prosecutor about what protection they want, and the Crown Prosecutor will decide what is necessary and appropriate to ask for in court.

Be Aware

The first court hearing for a peace bond will likely not happen for a few weeks or even months. If you need immediate protection during that time, consider applying for an Emergency Protection Order—see the section above called “The 3 ways to apply for an Emergency Protection Order.”

If the police don’t press criminal charges

Provincial Court

If the police don’t press criminal charges, you may then see a justice of the peace in the Provincial Court to ask for a peace bond against the abuser.

To do this, you will first need to get the police file number and your witness statement from the police investigation. Then, you must tell the clerks in the Criminal Division of Provincial Court that you would like to apply for a peace bond against someone. See the following resource for contact information of the Provincial Court in your judicial centre.

Web Provincial Court Locations & Sittings
Government of Alberta
English

You will have to swear under oath that you have a reasonable fear of the abuser, and give examples to the justice of the peace about times the abuser made you fear for your safety, or the safety of your family.

If possible, you should be able to tell the justice of the peace some basic information, such as:

  • the abuser’s full name;
  • the abuser’s date of birth; and
  • the address where the abuser can be located.

This information is needed so that a “summons” can be delivered to the abuser, and they will know when to come to court. The summons will not include anything about your specific complaints against the abuser.

Be Aware

The first court hearing for a peace bond will likely not happen for a few weeks or even months. If you need immediate protection during that time, consider applying for an Emergency Protection Order—see the section above called “The 3 ways to apply for an Emergency Protection Order."

If a peace bond is ordered

A peace bond may be ordered for up to one year. Sometimes, an abuser may be required to make a “deposit,” as a promise that they will follow the terms of the peace bond.

The Court will notify the police if it orders a peace bond. You will be given a copy of the Order as well. You may also ask for extra copies from the Crown Prosecutor’s office and give these to

  • your workplace;
  • your children’s schools and daycare; or
  • any other places where people protected under the peace bond spend a lot of time.

Reporting violations

If the Respondent does not follow the Order (this is called “breaching” the order), it is your responsibility to report it to your local police. Even minor violations (such as an email or a text message) should be reported—they will be added to the police file and may help in taking action against the abuser in the future. Breaching a peace bond is a criminal offence, and will have serious consequences for the abuser.

Be Aware

If you contact the abuser yourself, it may make it difficult to enforce the peace bond, or to get a different protective order in the future.

More information

See the following resources for more information about:

  • asking for a peace bond;
  • the processes that will be followed; and
  • what the criminal proceedings will be like for you.

PDF What you need to know about... Peace Bonds
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Applying for a peace bond
Government of Canada
English


Web Domestic Violence Guideline
Government of Alberta
English

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English

Web Harassment
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English

Audio Protective Orders 101 – Episode 2
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English


PDF The Criminal Court Process
Legal Services Society
Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Punjabi, Spanish
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Battered Women
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “The First Court Appearance” and “The Trial.”

Web Victims of Family Violence - Testifying in Criminal Court
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Les victimes de violence familial – Témoigner en cour criminelle
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
French
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Presentation Criminal Law and Violence Against Women: Basic Concepts
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Presentation Protection Orders
YWCA Canada
English

PDF Victim Impact Statement
Government of Alberta
English

PDF Peace Bonds
Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
English

Web Protection Orders – Part 3: A Basic Guide to Peace Bonds
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Research Library - No Contact Orders
Victims of Violence
English
Responding to a request for a peace bond

If someone is asking for a peace bond against you, you should consult a lawyer. See the Community Legal Resources & Legal Aid Information Page and the Working with a Lawyer Information Page.

For introductory information, see the following resource.

PDF Going to court: Working your way through Alberta's court system
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English
Asking for a no contact order

If you want to request a no contact order against your abuser, then the abuser must already have a criminal charge against them. This criminal charge could be:

  • related to the abuse (for example, if you reported an assault); or
  • related to another matter, but you still fear for your safety if the abuser is released.

No contact orders may be made in 2 ways:

  • as part of the abuser’s release conditions (if they are being released on bail); or
  • as part of the abuser’s sentence if they are found guilty of a crime.

To request a no contact order, you will have to talk to the Crown Prosecutor about your concerns.

For more information about asking for a no contact order, see the following resources.

PDF No Contact Order
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

Web Restraining and protection orders
Government of Alberta
English

Web Protection Orders – Part 4: A Basic Guide to Bail Conditions or 'Terms of Release'
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English

Be Aware

The abuser can apply to change a no contact order. If they are successful with the application, the no contact order could be removed within 2-3 weeks. Call the police or Victim Services if you are concerned about this.

For more information about victims’ rights, see the following resources.

Web Rights as a victim of crime
Government of Alberta
English

PDF Information for Victims of Crime
Government of Alberta
English

Interactive Search the Victim Services Directory
Government of Canada
English

Interactive Chercher dans le répertoire des services aux victimes
Government of Canada
French

Web Victim Service Units
Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association
English
Responding to a request for a no contact order

If someone is asking for a no contact order against you, you should consult a lawyer. See the Community Legal Resources & Legal Aid Information Page and the Working with a Lawyer Information Page.

For introductory information, see the following resource.

PDF Going to court: Working your way through Alberta's court system
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

Provincial Court

Queen's Bench

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