The Family Law Rules – What’s the Goal?

July 17, 2013
Ron Shulman

Article written by Ron Shulman

I’ve mentioned before that the Family Law Rules govern the conduct and procedure of family law cases in Ontario.   But if you are a potential litigant in a family law dispute, it is important to know the underlying purpose of those Rules, because they frame the manner in which your dispute will be resolved.

The Rules state that their “primary objective” is to “enable the court to deal with cases justly.”

But for the average family litigant, what does that really mean?

It means that such litigants can and should expect fairness and justice from Ontario family court judges, and should expect equal fairness to be woven through the processes that are involved in appearing before judges and having their cases heard.

To help people understand this concept, the Rules clarify that “dealing with a case justly” includes a number of principles, namely that courts are required to:

  • ensure that the procedure is fair to all parties,
  • save expense and time,
  • deal with the family law case in ways that are appropriate to its importance and complexity, and
  • give appropriate court resources to the case, while also taking into account the need to give resources to other cases.

Every Ontario family law judge is duty-bound to take all of these principles and considerations into account, whenever hearing a case to which the Rules apply.

Shulman & Partners LLP is a Toronto-area firm dedicated to providing practical advice and effective representation in family law trials, on appeals and in Alternative Dispute Resolution processes (ADR), such as negotiations, mediations and arbitrations.  Contact us to set up a consultation.