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Covid-19: Will the Court Hear Your Matter?

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Covid 19: Will the Court Hear Your Matter?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Canadian government and the courts have taken drastic measures to slow down the spread of Covid-19. One thing to be cognizant of is that the situation is fluid and constantly changing. At the point (March 23rd) the Ontario courts have stressed the following to the legal community.

The key is urgency. As we have seen around the world, governments have had to prioritize. The courts here in Ontario are taking similar tactics to legal matters and highlight that the urgent and immediate matters will be given priority. In the family law realm, this means that the clients and counsel should refrain from bringing the court issues such as routine child support (unless one party is at extreme financial strain).

What is considered an urgent? The Ontario Court of Justice states

The Court is reducing the number of courtrooms that will operate. Judicial officials will remain available to preside over:

–              regularly scheduled bail courts, remand and plea courts for in-custody proceedings;

–              plea court for urgent out-of-custody matters;

–              urgent family proceedings;

–              applications under the Health Protection and Promotion Act; and

–              urgent and/or essential intake court functions.

At this time, urgent matter can be heard via teleconference with judges and counsel. Due to the shift to paperless, the drafting of materials is extremely important to avoid further delay. Counsel should ensure that they provide the current relevant order, a draft of the order they are seeking, and to set out what the status quo of the matter is. Succinctness is a virtue at this time for the courts. Courthouses have limited filing hours and family court hearings restricted to emergency matters only.

For more details, please see:

https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/

You can also check out our Covid-19 and Divorce Information Centre: here.

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At Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com