Consolidated Practice Direction Concerning Family Cases in the Toronto Region

Effective July 1, 2014, amended July 1, 2015

This Practice Direction applies to family law proceedings in the Toronto Region. It supersedes Part III of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction for family cases in Toronto. It also supersedes all previous Practice Directions concerning family proceedings in the Toronto Region issued prior to July 1, 2014, which are hereby revoked.

Changes have been made to paragraphs 3, 19, 23 and 25 below which came into effect on July 1, 2015.

Counsel and parties are advised to refer to the relevant parts of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction, the Consolidated Practice Direction for Divisional Court Proceedings as well as any other applicable Toronto region-specific Practice Directions or Guides, which are available on the Superior Court of Justice website at: www.ontariocourts.ca/scj.

Part I: Confirmations

  1. Each party to a motion or conference must file a Form 14C Confirmation or the parties may file one jointly, no later than 2 p.m. two business days before the date of the motion or conference.
  2. The parties or their counsel should consult with each other prior to filing their Form 14C Confirmations, unless the parties are self-represented and prohibited from communicating by court order.
  3. Where Form 14C Confirmations 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.
  4. Form 14C Confirmations 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 not being heard on that day.
  5. Form 14C Confirmations 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.

Part II: Motions

A. Short Motions

  1. Motions that are expected to take one hour or less may be scheduled on a Tuesday or Thursday by serving and filing the motion material (including a factum or Summary of Argument) at the family court office within the timelines set out in the Family Law Rules.

B. Long Motions

  1. 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 and scheduled through the Trial Coordinator in the family court office.  Long motions can be scheduled either (a) with the other party’s written consent or (b) with the court’s permission, by filing a Form 14B Motion Form under section 14(10) of the Family Law Rules.

C. Factums, Summaries of Arguments and Briefs of Authorities

  1. A properly drafted factum or Summary of Argument is required on all motions except as noted below.  If the moving party does not file a factum or Summary of Argument where required, the motion will not be scheduled.
  2. For short motions, the times for service and filing of moving party’s factum or Summary of Argument should be filed in accordance with the requirements relating to other motion materials in section 14(11) and 14(11.1) of the Family Law Rules.
  3. For long motions, each party’s factum or Summary of Argument must be filed at least seven days before the hearing of the motion.
  4. No factum or Summary of Argument may exceed 20 pages without leave of the court.
  5. 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 or Summary of Argument.  Counsel and parties are advised to refer to Part I-B of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction. An updated list of family cases is available on the Superior Court’s website at: www.ontariocourts.ca/scj.

D. 14 B Motions

  1. 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 four copies of a proposed Order (Form 25), a completed endorsement sheet and a self-addressed and stamped envelope for each party.
  2. 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.

E. Compendiums

  1. 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

  1. 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. Counsel and parties should refer to the Guide Concerning e-Delivery of Documents available on the Superior Court’s website.

G. Urgent Motions on Notice

  1. 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 except for a Form 14C Confirmation.

H. Urgent Motions without Notice

  1. A party that is seeking a motion without notice to the other party must also set out why notice is unnecessary or not reasonably possible.  A factum or Summary of Argument is not required for an urgent motion that has been brought without notice.

I. Case Conferences and Settlement Conferences

  1. Parties may request that a conference occur by teleconference with or without the consent of both parties or their counsel by filing a Form 14B Motion Form.
  2. 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.
  3. The first case conference on a motion to change a final order or agreement shall be scheduled before a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) in accordance with Part I of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction.
  4. A DRO conference can be held on matters other than motions to change only as directed by the court upon request by a 14B Motion or at another court event.
  5. If the matter is not resolved at a settlement conference, a Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form, endorsed by the Court) must be completed prior to the matter being scheduled for trial.

J. Trial Management Conferences

  1. A trial management conference will normally be scheduled by the family court office for the week before the assigned trial date.
  2. The completed Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form must be filed by one of the parties in advance of the Trial Management Conference and each party must file an Offer to Settle and Outline of Opening Statement, in lieu of the Trial Management Conference Brief.

K. Trial Records

  1. The Applicant must 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.

Additional information about family cases and the mediation and information services that are available at the Toronto Superior Court of Justice, 393 University Avenue, 9th Floor, is available from Mediate 393 which is available on their website.

Dated: April 11, 2014

Heather J. Smith
Chief Justice
Superior Court of Justice (Ontario)

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Regional Senior Judge
Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Region