In Manitoba, families experiencing separation and divorce generally apply to the Family Division of the Court of Queen's Bench to make an order that sets out the terms of the separation.
Although a Judge makes an order at the time of a hearing, it cannot be enforced until a written order is prepared by the parties or their lawyers and is signed by the Judge. It often takes too long between the time the Judge makes a decision and the time a court order is signed and can be enforced. This can cause problems for those paying and those receiving support or protection.
Like many legal documents, orders can be difficult to understand. This can cause problems for parents and enforcement officers who must try to figure out what the order means to be able to obey it.
The Automated Family Court Order Project will improve court processes by reducing delay and will make orders easier to understand. Commonly used clauses have been collected and put into plain language to ensure the orders are clear and easily understood by all who must use them.
Counsel, having security access, will submit draft orders electronically into the Court System prior to a scheduled hearing. On the hearing date, the clerk will electronically order the draft order into the courtroom. On the edited document being approved, it will be physically signed by the presiding Judge, electronically trued and submitted into the Court Registry System and distributed to all parties prior to anyone leaving the courtroom. This will eliminate the delay between the pronouncement of an order and its preparation for signing and enforcement.
This system of producing orders is being introduced in stages.
Stage 1 - On March 30th, 1998, use of standard clauses when preparing orders in the Family Division became mandatory.
Stage 2 - On March 2nd, 2000, the electronic transfer of court information to assist in the creation of draft orders went live in the Masters' Maintenance Enforcement Court.
Stage 3 - On January 10th, 2001, the Auto Order Project was introduced to a volunteer test group from the Legal Profession on behalf of the larger Family Division.
Stage 4 - In early Fall of 2004, the project team initiated the business and technical requirements gathering phase. The data accumulated assisted in the conceptual design of the various components of the Automated Family Court Order System.
Stage 5 - Commencing in November 2005, the project team presented the new visuals to the stakeholders, current users and external legal professional volunteers in order to receive their comments while in the early development phase. The development phase, which will include users testing the different components as they are developed, allowing them to gradually adapt to the system, is currently ongoing.
In August 2006, a Notice from Associate Chief Justice Mercier authorized distribution of Version 2 of the Court of Queen's Bench, Family Division, Standard Clause Package. The notice included a reminder that use of standard clauses when preparing family orders has been mandatory since 1998 pursuant to Queen's Bench Rule 70.31(11), (12) and (13).
In August 2009, a Notice from Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas authorized distribution of Version 3 of the Court of Queen’s Bench, Family Division, Standard Clause Package. Changes to the Standard Clauses were required for use in the live Automated Family Court Order (AFCO) Application currently in use in the Masters’ Maintenance Enforcement Court (Winnipeg Centre) as well as other minor changes to words and/or footnotes.
In May 2012, a Notice from Chief Justice Glenn D. Joyal authorized distribution of Version 4 of the Court of Queen’s Bench, Family Division, Standard Clause Package. Changes to the Standard Clauses were required to reflect legislative changes that have come into force since the release of Version 3. Click on the following link to access the Notice: May 2012 - Version 4 of the Mandatory Standard Clauses for Family Division Orders
To VIEW the most recent version of the clauses
Click on the English or French link below
Note: The most current version of the standard clauses will always be found at this site.
For MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT contact:
Court of Queen's Bench
Law Courts Complex
2nd Floor - 408 York Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0P9