The Rules of Court have recently been amended, changing the “Drop Dead Rule” to three years. The new Rules of Court stated in the transitional provisions that section 4.33 (the twoyear drop dead rule) would come into effect on November 1, 2012. Concerns have been raised about this implementation, primarily from the personal injury bar, and a recommendation has been made by the Rules of Court Committee that the date be delayed another year.

These concerns included:

  • Uncertainty surrounding the definition of what “significantly advances” means;
  • The rule is one-sided and places an unfair burden on plaintiffs;
  • There are no effective remedies for breaches of the drop dead rule;
  • 2 years is just too short a time and that some alternative time is appropriate;
  • The amount of time it takes to get a JDR date is incompatible with the rule; and
  • The 2 year drop dead rule is just not appropriate for personal injury actions.  

The Rules of Court Committee has invited the Bar to make comments with regard to this rule and submissions will be accepted at up to September 30, 2012.  

In light of this comment period, the Lieutenant Governor in Council made the following amendment in accordance with section 28.1 of the Judicature Act,  

12 In the following provisions [of the Alberta Rules of Court (AR 124/2010)] “2 years” is struck out and “3 years” is substituted:  

rule 15.4(1)(a) and (2)(c);  

rule 15.15(2).  

Alberta Rules of Court Amendment Regulation OC 228/2012 s. 12  

This amendment effectively defers the drop dead period in Rule 4.33 an extra year to allow for further consultation on the two-year drop dead rule. Therefore, litigants who previously may have had concerns about significantly advancing their actions before November 1, 2012, now have another year to move their action along. The amended effective date of the drop dead rule is now November 1, 2013.