Where We’ve Been, and What’s Ahead in 2023
Exactly one year ago, we wrote a Blog entitled “Family Law 2022: Through the Review Mirror, Then on to Better Things”. At the time, Canadians were understandably battle-weary from the COVID-19 pandemic. But there was a whiff of optimism in the air, and collectively we dared hope the worst was behind us.
Now a year later, it seems safe to assume that – while we are not entirely out of the woods – we are slowly crawling to safety on a global basis.
Fortunately, the interruptions of the past two years have not been an entire waste of time. In fact, the Family Law system is arguably better for it: Due to early physical distancing requirements, there was a forced and wholesale shift in procedural and administrative elements. Much of it was streamlined and moved online, and new procedures and avenues for public access were installed – all at staggering speeds. This has already saved clients time and money, and has enhanced the efficacy of the system as a whole. (PS. Too bad it took a pandemic to get these things done).
And despite those interruptions, we’ve still managed to see some progress from the standpoint of substantive Family Law.
Earlier in the year for example, we covered the landmark case of Ahluwalia v. Ahluwalia, where the Ontario court recognized a novel legal claim in the course of awarding a mother $150,000 in tort-based damages arising from the family violence she had endured at the hands of her partner.
More recently, we relayed some of the major developments in the area of international child abductions: The first was the amendment of the Ontario Family Law Rules to allow for hearings to be expedited; the second was a major decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that settled some confusion in the law around the Ontario courts’ authority over international child abductions.
We also wrote recently about the contentious (and in our view, ill-advised) rollout of the new Family Legal Services Provider License by the Law Society of Ontario, which permits paralegals to expand their practices into very narrow areas of Family Law.
So it’s been an interesting year.
Now it’s early 2023, and we have started to dust ourselves off, to emerge from our societal isolation. Our focus has begun to shift away from the medical exigencies wrought by the pandemic, and towards the future again. Back to “the new normal”, as the popular phrase goes.
It will be interesting to see what the coming year holds, and we’ll continue to cover Family Law developments in this Blog. Subscribe!
To all our readers, a very Happy and Prosperous 2023!