The Family Law Rules – What’s the Court’s Role?
Recently I wrote about the primary objective of the Family Law Rules, which is “to enable the court to deal with cases justly”, a phrase which was further defined to include certain specific elements.
The Rules go on to impose on every Ontario court the specific duty to promote that primary objective, and it spreads the responsibility around to the litigants and their lawyers as well. The Rule states:
“The court is required to apply these rules to promote the primary objective, and parties and their lawyers are required to help the court to promote the primary objective.”
Ontario Courts take very seriously this directive to “deal with cases justly”. For example, judges have specifically invoked this part of the Rules to:
- set specific deadlines for the next steps in the litigation (see for example Khaled v. Khaled, 2011 ONSC 4455),
- loosen the strictness of rules relating to amending offers to settle (see Waters v. Waters, 2012 ONSC 6395), and
- speed a case along where the parties have delayed too long (see for example Josephson v. Hanna, 2012 ONSC 6398, where the court observed: “This litigation now has dragged on longer than their marriage”).
Shulman Law Firm is a Toronto-area firm of experienced Family Lawyers who can provide practical advice and effective representation relating to the steps and processes involved in separating and getting divorced in Ontario. Contact us to set up a free consultation.