Notice of Amendment:
Part I [paras. 1 – 5], Part III C [para. 11] were amended on July 1, 2018.
Effective May 1, 2016
This Practice Direction applies to family law proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice in the Northeast Region. It supersedes Part I: Family Proceedings of the Consolidated Practice Direction for the Northeast Region.
Counsel and parties are advised to refer also to the relevant parts of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction which is available on the Superior Court of Justice website at www.ontariocourts.ca/scj.
Each of the forms required by the Family Law Rules is available at the Ontario Court Forms website at: http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/family-law-rules-forms/. In addition, the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form for family cases is available on the website of the Superior Court of Justice at: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/rules-forms/.
- Part I: Confirmations
- Part II: Motions
Part I: Confirmations
- Each party to a motion or conference must file a Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference, or the parties may file one jointly, no later than 2 p.m. three business days before the date of the motion or conference.
- The parties or their counsel should consult with each other prior to filing their Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference, unless the parties are self-represented and prohibited from communicating by court order.
- Where Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference forms have not been filed by at least one party, the conference or motion will not be scheduled on the event list and, as a result, will not be heard by the court. Costs may also be ordered against a party who has not filed the confirmation.
- Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference forms must only list the specific issues that are to be addressed at the event. They should also indicate which materials the judge should review with clear reference to the specific volume, tab and page numbers of the Continuing Record. Failure to provide this information may result in the materials not being reviewed by the judge or the motion or conference not being heard on that day, and costs consequences.
- Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference forms must also include an appropriate time estimate for the entire motion or conference, including time required by the other party. Parties will be held to the time stated on their confirmations.
- If a Confirmation is filed for a consent adjournment, no one needs to appear to speak to the court about the adjournment unless directed to do so by the court.
Part II: Motions
A. Short Motions
- Motions that are expected to take one hour or less may be scheduled on a regular motions day by serving and filing the motion material at the court office within the timelines set out in the Family Law Rules.
B. Long Motions
- In those court centres that have adopted a long motions protocol for family law matters, the protocol must be followed unless an order is obtained to the contrary. Contact the Trial Coordinator in the centre that the case is in for the latest information about long motion protocols.
- In those court centres that have not adopted a long motions protocol,
- Motions that are expected to take more than 1 hour (including the other party’s reply and cross motion, if any) must be scheduled as long motions through the Trial Coordinator in the court office. Long motions can be scheduled either (i) with the other party’s written consent or (ii) with the court’s permission, by filing a Form 14B Motion Form under section 14(10) of the Family Law Rules; and
- The moving party must serve and file all their motion material and an Offer to Settle at least 30 days prior to the scheduled motion date, or the date will be vacated. The responding party must serve and file their responding material and an Offer to Settle at least 15 days before the scheduled motion date. Reply material, if any, and a properly completed Form 14C Confirmation of Motion, confirming the motion date and material to be read, must be served and filed by 2 p.m. seven days prior to the scheduled motion date. If a long motion is not confirmed by 2 p.m. seven days in advance, it will be removed from the list and the date will be vacated.
C. Factums and Briefs of Authorities
- A properly drafted factum is required on all long motions and is optional for short motions. If the moving party does not file a factum where required, the motion will not be scheduled.
- Each party’s factum must be filed by no later than 2 p.m. three business days before the hearing of the motion.
- No factum may exceed 20 pages without leave of the court.
- The authorities that are included on the court’s list of Often Cited Family Cases do not need to be provided to the court with a party’s factum. An updated list of often cited family cases is available on the Superior Court’s website at: www.ontariocourts.ca/scj. However, extracts from those authorities which the court will be referred to shall be included in the factum or book of authorities, in addition to copies of any other cases that a party relies on.
D. 14 B Motions
- A Form 14B Motion must be filed at the family court office and cannot be filed by fax. A Form 14B Motion Form should be accompanied by one copy of a proposed Order (Form 25) and a self-addressed and stamped envelope for each party.
- The 14B Motion Form shall be filed in the Continuing Record and a copy of the proposed Order shall be attached to the appropriate place in the Endorsement Volume.
- A Compendium* containing the documents and evidence that are essential to the hearing of the motion may be provided for long or complex motions. A party wishing to file a Compendium should file it with their factum. A joint Compendium may be filed with the respondent’s factum.
*A compendium would normally include the Notice of Motion, Affidavits and Financial Statements, as well as excerpts from the evidence and exhibits that will be referred to in the argument of the motion.
F. Electronic Copies of Materials
- Whenever the volume of materials is large or the motion is complex, the parties should file an electronic copy of their motion materials as well as paper copies.
G. Urgent Motions on Notice
- A party may seek an urgent motion on notice without a case conference in situations of urgency or hardship including issues such as abduction, threats of harm or dire financial harm. A party seeking such a motion must file all of the required materials for a motion except for a Form 14C Confirmation.
H. Urgent Motions without Notice
- A party that is seeking a motion without notice to the other party must also set out why giving notice is unnecessary, is not reasonably possible, or would have serious consequences.
I. Case Conferences and Settlement Conferences
- A party may by written request through the Trial Coordinator ask that a conference be conducted by teleconference or, where available, by videoconference. In any such request, the party shall indicate whether or not it is being made with consent of the opposing party and, if it is not, the reasons for the request.
- Counsel or the parties should communicate before any conference in order to attempt to resolve the issues that are in dispute, unless the parties are self-represented and prohibited from communicating by court order.
- The parties should each bring their Trial Scheduling Endorsement Forms to the settlement conference with their respective portions completed. If the matter is not resolved at a settlement conference, the complete Trial Scheduling Endorsement form must be endorsed by the court prior to the matter being scheduled for trial.
J. Trial Management Conferences
- A trial management conference will be scheduled by the court office for a date before the assigned trial date.
- In advance of the Trial Management Conference, each party must file an Offer to Settle and Outline of Opening Statement in lieu of the Form 17E Trial Management Conference Brief. A copy of the completed Trial Scheduling Endorsement form shall be attached to these materials by the court.
K. Trial Records
- The Applicant must serve and file a Trial Record at least 30 days prior to the scheduled trial date. Failure to do so will result in the matter being removed from the trial list, unless the court orders otherwise. Financial Statements do not need to be updated again after the Trial Record is filed as required by Rule 13(12) unless this is required by the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form.
Dated: May 1, 2016
Amended: July 1, 2018 (Part I [paras. 1 – 5], Part III C [para. 11])
Heather J. Smith
Superior Court of Justice (Ontario)
Robbie D. Gordon
Regional Senior Judge
Superior Court of Justice, Northeast Region