Practice Direction Regarding Family Cases in the Superior Court of Justice East Region

Notice of Amendment:

Part III [paras. 7 – 12] were amended on July 1, 2018.


Effective August 1, 2016

This Practice Direction applies to family law proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice in the East Region.  It supersedes Part I: Family Proceedings of the Consolidated Practice Direction for the East 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 uat.ontariocourts.ca/scj.

This Practice Direction provides clarification of the process for motions (including urgent motions), case conferences, settlement conferences, trial management conferences and trials that are required under the Family Law Rules. This Practice Direction does not apply to cases under the  Child, Youth and Family Services Act.

Part 1: General Information

A. Court Contact Information:

  1. The contact information for the ten court sites in the East Region can be found on the regional court schedule section of the website of the Superior Court of Justice.

B. Schedule:

  1. The schedule for proceedings in Family Court for the ten court sites in the East Region can also be found on the regional court schedule section of the website of the Superior Court of Justice.

C. Forms:

  1. Each of the forms prescribed under the Family Law Rules is available on the Ontario Court Forms. The Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form, referred to below, is available on the Superior Court of Justice website.

Part 2: Obtaining Dates

  1. Dates for conferences and motions shall be obtained at the Family Law Counter in conjunction with the Trial Coordinator’s Office. The party scheduling the date should consult in advance with the other party so that the date set is available for both parties.
  2. Strict attention should be paid to the estimate of time required for the event. The parties should consult in advance so that the time estimate will include sufficient time for both parties, including for any cross motion that is expected to be heard on the same date.
  3. Time allotments on the daily event lists are based on the time estimate provided when the date is obtained. Parties may be held to that time estimate, or, the motion may not be heard if the actual time required for it exceeds the initial time estimate.

Part 3: Confirmations

  1. 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.
  2. These may be filed at the Family Law Counter in the courthouse or they may be faxed to the Family Court Office. Please see the Court Contact Information link above.
  3. The parties or their counsel should consult with each other prior to filing their Form 14C Confirmation of Motion/Form 17F Confirmation of Conference forms, unless the parties are self-represented and prohibited from communicating by court order or by a term of judicial release.
  4. Where no Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17 Confirmation of Conference has been filed by any party, the conference or motion will be not be heard on that day. Costs may also be ordered against a party who has not filed a Confirmation.
  5. 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 not being heard on that day.
  6. Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference forms must also include an up-to-date time estimate for the entire motion or conference, including time required by the other party. Parties should not expect more time than originally requested nor will they be permitted more time than specified in the confirmation forms.
  7. If the matter settles or the issues narrow or change parties are asked to notify the court by fax as soon as possible.

Part 4: Motions

A. Regular Motions

  1. Regular motions are determined by the amount of time they will require to be argued. The duration for regular motions in each judicial centre is set out in Schedule 1 to this Practice Direction.
  2. In all judicial centres, any regular motion requiring one hour or more for argument requires a Factum. Motion materials shall be served and filed in accordance with the timelines set out in the Family Law Rules.  Motion materials must be filed at the Family Law Counter.

B. Long Motions

  1. Long Motions are all motions expected to exceed the regular motion duration in the applicable judicial centre (including the other party’s reply and cross motion, if any). Long motions must be scheduled through the Trial Coordinator’s Office. Long motions should be scheduled with the other party’s consent as to the date.
  2. A factum is required for all motions that are one hour or more. The moving party shall serve and file its Factum at least four business days before the hearing of the motion.  The responding party shall serve and file its Factum at least 2 business days before the hearing of the motion.
  3. No Factum may exceed 20 pages without leave of the court.
  4. The authorities that are included in the Superior Court of Justice List of Often Cited Family Cases do not need to be provided to the court. However the specific paragraphs on which a party relies shall be reproduced in its Factum.

Ottawa Only

  1. The moving party must provide its material for the long motion not later than ten days after the long motion date is scheduled. Failure to do so will result in the long motion date being vacated without further notice to either party.

Part 5: Compendiums – Family Law Motions

  1. A Compendium containing the documents and evidence essential to the hearing of a long or complex motion (e.g. summary judgment) may be served and filed with a Factum. A joint Compendium may be filed with the Respondent’s Factum.
  2. Normally a Compendium would include: the Notice of Motion, Affidavits or essential portions of Affidavits, Financial Statements, Net Family Property Statements, essential Exhibits and excerpts from any other evidence (e.g. transcripts) that will be referred to when arguing the motion.

A. 14B Motions

  1. A 14B Motion must be filed at the Family Law Counter and cannot be filed by fax. A Form 14B Motion Form should be accompanied by 4 copies of a proposed Order (Form 25), a self-addressed and stamped envelope for each party.  For local counsel, the address may be the lawyer’s court office box and no stamp is required.
  2. Service requirements of a Form 14B motion are governed by the Family Law Rules.
  3. Where a party would be unable to file documents due to their inability to obtain Canada Revenue Agency documents in a timely way, a Form 14B motion may be filed with their documents together with an affidavit stating: (a) they have filed tax returns for the particular year and have provided a copy of the return to the other party but do not yet have a notice of assessment; or (b) they have filed their tax returns for the particular year but do not have a copy or a copy of the notice of assessment – and explain why; or (c) they do not have Canadian tax returns for the particular year because they lived somewhere else and they have either provided the other return to the other party or are unable to do so for some explicable reason, and they have written to Canada Revenue Agency for the Income and Deductions printout required by rule 13(7)(2)(B) but have not yet received it and they attach a copy of the letter to CRA as an exhibit.

B. Procedural Motions: Ottawa Only

  1. Dates are posted at the Family Law Counter and in Family Law Information Centre when procedural motions may be brought in court. Attendance at the Family Counter by no later than 9:30 a.m. on the motion date with the served motion materials and proof of service is required.
  2. A procedural motion includes a motion for a determination of urgency or hardship, seeking permission to bring a substantive motion before case conference.
  3. A procedural motion should only be brought without notice to the other party in compliance with rule 14(12).
  4. All procedural motions, whether opposed or unopposed, are confined to 15 minutes or less in duration.

C. 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.

D. 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.

Part 6: Consent Adjournments

  1. Although the court requests notice of consent adjournments as early as possible, consent adjournments of regular motions may be obtained by faxing notice to the court office not later than 4 p.m. on the last business day before the scheduled event. A notice of return of motion must be delivered to obtain a subsequent date.
  2. If the motion is to be adjourned on consent on terms or on the basis of a consent order, the original signed consent and approved draft order must be filed before the matter will be taken off the list.
  3. Adjournments of conferences scheduled in response to a Notice of Approaching Dismissal are only available by permission of a judge.

Part 7: Conference Attendance by Video or Teleconference

  1. Parties may arrange through the Family Law Counter in conjunction with the Trial Office for a case conference to occur by teleconference with the consent of both parties and their counsel.
  2. For other conferences, or if the other party to the case conference does not consent, a request for a teleconference may be made by a Form 14B
  3. Videoconferencing may be available in certain centres and can be used with prior judicial approval. For information contact the local Trial Coordinator.

Part 8: Trial Scheduling

  1. If a case is not resolved at a settlement conference, the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Forms must be completed and endorsed by the Court prior to the case being listed for trial.
  2. The completed Forms shall be entered into the yellow Endorsement book of the Continuing Record for use at a Trial Management Conference.
  3. Where the Court has directed that a Trial Scheduling Conference should be held, the parties must confirm their attendance at this conference in accordance with Rule 17(14) and file their respective portions of the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form in advance of the conference in accordance with the timelines in rule 17(13.1).
  4. Parties should refer to section 31.9 of Part 1 of the Provincial Practice Direction regarding the materials that must to be filed in advance of a Trial Management Conference.

Part 9: Trial Records

  1. The Applicant must serve and file a Trial Record at least 30 days prior to the scheduled Trial date, in compliance with rule 23(1) and (2).
  2. If the Applicant fails to do so, the Respondent may serve and file a Trial Record at least 20 days before the scheduled Trial date.
  3. Failure of either party to file the Trial Record shall result in the case being removed from the Trial list, unless the court orders otherwise.

Dated:  July 21, 2016
Amended: July 1, 2018 (Part III [paras. 7 – 12])

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

James E. McNamara
Regional Senior Judge
Superior Court of Justice, East Region