Family Law Strategic Plan

The Superior Court of Justice is committed to ensuring meaningful access to justice for family law litigants at all Superior Court sites throughout Ontario. Access to justice means providing family court services and processes that are timely, efficient, effective and affordable. The purpose of these services and processes is to resolve family cases in ways that minimize conflict, safeguard the children’s best interests, protect the legal rights of all family members, and resolve the issues as early as possible.

In order to achieve these goals, the Superior Court of Justice has developed this Family Law Strategic Plan. The Family Law Strategic Plan sets out guiding principles and achievable goals to ensure meaningful access to justice for family law litigants at all Superior Court sites in Ontario.

This plan provides a framework within which family law cases can be determined in accordance with two key guiding principles of accessibility and effectiveness.

Accessibility means:

Appropriate judicial resources and family court services should be available at all court locations, considering such factors as population and geography.

Court processes should be understandable to all litigants, including the unrepresented, and should promote early, fair and expeditious resolutions.

Effectiveness means:

Front-end family court services and court processes should be designed to ensure that each court attendance is necessary, meaningful, timely, and as comprehensive as possible.

Consistent with these guiding principles of accessibility and effectiveness, the Superior Court of Justice will continue to work towards the following goals:

Work with justice partners regarding any appropriate expansion of a fully resourced Family Court branch.

Advocate to the Federal Government for the appropriate judicial complement that meets the needs of all family law litigants.

Collaborate with all levels of government, justice partners and stakeholders to ensure the availability of comprehensive front-end family court services to all litigants, both represented and self-represented. At a minimum, the following services should be available and fully resourced across the province: Family Law Information Centres, Mandatory Information Sessions, Mediation, Legal Aid Services, Supervised Access Centres, and Support Re-calculation Services.

Develop and implement court processes that make sure parties are prepared to have a meaningful appearance before a judge.

Work with the government representatives and stakeholders to review and improve the Family Law Rules where needed, to simplify and streamline proceedings in an effort toprovide efficient and timely judicial events.

Support appropriate case management in ways that are proportionate to the children’s needs, the complexity and importance of the issues, and the family’s financial resources.

High conflict cases should be identified as early as possible and managed by the same judge wherever possible.

Enhance judicial education to provide judges with comprehensive and updated judicial tools and resources.

Develop improved communications and consultations with judges and other justice partners and stakeholders, regarding ongoing developments, new initiatives and current issues in family law.

The Superior Court of Justice looks forward to working with all the stakeholders in the family law justice system to implement these very important goals within the Family Law Strategic Plan.