Court states: Only Realistic Way to Address Disagreements is by Managing the Cases Through Motions Rather Than Waiting for Trial During COVID-19.
The ongoing pandemic has unfortunately resulted in a large backlog of family law cases and extended delays. This issue was highlighted in the case of Taylor v Boon wherein the paternal grandmother and aunt sought access to a nine-year-old following her father’s death and estate litigation with her mother.
The issue here brought before the Court is clearly one that requires immediate attention due to the impact that such an access schedule would have on the child. The court considered many factors arising out of the issue relating to the doctrine of parental deference. However, the Court identified that the matter would not be able to be resolved at trial until at least 2022 due to the backlog of cases arising from the pandemic.
This delay would itself not meet the child’s best interests. The Court stated that during COVID time where there is a large backlog of trials after the closure of the courts over the past six months that:
 Trial is an unrealistic option in the coming year when we will be addressing that backlog for much of 2021 and it is unlikely that these parties will be able to have a trial until 2022 at best. Under the circumstances, the only realistic way to address disagreements between the parties is by managing the case through motions rather than waiting for trial; this is, unfortunately, the only means of providing adequate access to justice in the coming year.
Given such delays, the Court proceeded to address the issue of parental deference now by applying the criteria laid out in Chapman v Chapman.
Similar decisions of the Courts to address immediate issues as in Taylor v Boon at the Motion hearing as opposed to waiting for trial, is likely to only arise in cases where the delay itself would further impact what is in the child’s overall best interests.
For the full text of the decision, see:
Taylor v Boon 2020 ONSC 5521