EMERGENCY PROTECTION ORDER (EPO)
An Emergency Protection Order (“EPO”) is a Court Order which can be applied for by a victim of family violence, or the police on the victim’s behalf, which can order the alleged abuser or perpetrator of violence to be restrained from being near the victim, contacting the victim in any way, or attending at places where the victim usually goes, such as the victim’s home and place of work. It is similar to a Restraining Order except that the Court process for obtaining an EPO is designed for victims of family violence who are not necessarily represented by lawyers. Another variation sometimes agreed on at a later stage of the dispute is a Mutual No Contact Order which orders both parties not to contact one another or in some cases not to go places that the other party usually goes.
If required, an EPO is granted at the discretion of a Judge, usually in the Provincial Court of Alberta at the outset. Thereafter, the EPO will have to be reviewed at a later date by a Justice in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. This review takes place after the alleged perpetrator has been given formal notice of the EPO and the evidence on which it was granted. This provides the Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench an opportunity to hear the evidence from both sides, not just that of the applicant. The Justice will then make a determination as to whether the EPO will be confirmed and if so, how long will it remain in place, or should it be varied in some fashion, replaced with a different type of Court Order or terminated.