March 23, 2015

EDMONTON – The five Roman Catholic dioceses of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have integrated their marriage tribunals into one body based in Edmonton.

In making the announcement, Archbishop Richard Smith, moderator of the newly-established Interdiocesan Tribunal of Edmonton, said the bishops hope the new body will "offer better and more timely service to anyone who requires a declaration of nullity before entering a new marriage within the Catholic Church."

The new interdiocesan tribunal has its main office at the Pastoral and Administration Offices of the Edmonton Archdiocese, and an auxiliary office at the Catholic Pastoral Centre of the Diocese of Calgary, Smith said.

The new arrangement has the approval of the Holy See; personnel in each office will remain the same as they were before this change, he said.

The new arrangement has enabled the following changes:

  1. The Interdiocesan Tribunal of Edmonton has its own visual identity, which will be reflected in signage, stationery and on the new website at Our five member dioceses will be encouraged to place links to the new site prominently on their diocesan sites.
  2. A shared file which can be used from either Edmonton or Calgary will be set up to allow staff in either office to access all of the print material required when processing a nullity case.
  3. That material includes decrees, citation and notification letters, the definitive sentence, and questionnaires for interviews.
  4. Two Excel spreadsheets have been put into use to replace several record books and ledgers that were kept manually, and were previously in use in both offices.
  5. This allows tribunal staff to track both the progress of a case, and the current balance outstanding, online. All information required for year-end reporting is available from these spreadsheets.
  6. Later this year training will be provided for a number of advocates who will be able to offer assistance to the parties during the time their case is pending.
  7. Training will also be provided to increase the number of auditors available.
  8. The roster of active judges for the tribunal has been increased from seven to 12 in order to expedite cases.