COVID-19 and the current status of the courts?
As of September 28, 2020, the Ontario Court of Justice will begin to resume hearing Applications, Motions to Change, and Family Responsibility Office (FRO) matters.
- Don’t attend court in person unless you’re unable to send urgent documents electronically, or your presence is ordered by a judge
- If a doctor, a public health official, or the Ontario Ministry of Health has instructed you to self-isolate
ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE
What hearings are going on?
- New proceedings which are URGENT
- Case conferences on previously adjourned matters
- In addition to certain in-chambers requests, where locally directed, other matters
How are these hearings being held?
- By conference call, unless otherwise directed
- Local courts will organize in-person hearings when necessary
- On a prioritized basis
How do I file my documents?
- Courthouses should e-mail documents/requests to the appropriate parties. See https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/courthouse-email-addresses/
E-mail TITLES should include:
- Level of Court;
- Type of Matter;
- File number (or NEW);
- Lastly, the type of Document
Example: OCJ Family Matter #29203 Case Conference
E-mail CONTENTS should include:
Court file number (if existing);
- Short title of the proceeding;
- List of documents attached (Cannot exceed 35 MB);
- Type of Request;
- Confirmation of service HOW + WHEN another party was served;
- Name and Role and contact info of person submitting request (E-mail + Phone number)
- In addition, affiants will swear to the contents of the affidavit or affiants will affirm the contents of the affidavit via videoconference or telephone
A person who e-mails a document does not need to file it in person
- When if you are unable to file by e-mail, contact your local Courthouse
Where can I find more information on Family Proceedings in the Ontario Courts of Justice? Through consulting https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/covid-19-family-matters/
SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE
- Practice instructions differ by region. Below is the information for TORONTO. Also, visit the Superior Court of Justice website to find region-specific instructions.
What hearings are going on?
- For example, Urgent matters
- Case Conferences
- Settlement Conferences
- Case conference judges will continue to hear certain motions, as well as set motions
- Motions to change on Consent: 14B motions for consent orders and motions to change consent
How do I file my documents?
- By e-mail
- In-person, subject to the appropriate fees, once the courts resume
- Where directed, by mail, subject to the appropriate fees
- Limited divorce applications can be filed electronically at https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-divorce-application-online
What format do I follow when filing my documents?
Use the FILE NAMING instructions: CASE PREFIX + Applicant v Respondent + CASE FILE NUMBER. Case Prefixes are found at https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/files/notices/family-prefixes.pdf
Include copies of any orders and endorsements when filing materials from each hearing
How do I issue an application?
- E-mail Toronto.SCJ.FAMILYINTAKE@ontario.ca with all necessary documents as required under the Family Law Rules and a request for issuance of the Application.
- After that, send a hard copy of documents and fees to the court office that day or the following day.
- Afterward, Court Services Division staff shall issue the Application and send a confirmation email with the Court File Number and date of issuance.
How do I file an Answer, Reply, or additional documents?
The answer, Reply, and other necessary documents required with pleadings under the Family Law Rules, shall be served and then sent to Toronto.SCJ.FAMILYINTAKE@ontario.ca for filing. On that day or the following day, you must send a hard copy of documents and the appropriate filing fee to the court office by regular mail.
How do I serve and file Case Conference Documents?
You can apply by emailing an application for non-Urgent Case Conferences. Briefs can be sent to Toronto.SCJ.FAMILYINTAKE@Ontario.CA. The Superior Court’s Website at the link below provides further detailed instructions on regular non-urgent case conferences.
Urgent Case Conferences: Either party can send an email to Toronto.email@example.com along with their case conference brief.
- The case conference coordinator will set a date/time for the case conference.
- The opposing party must file their brief affidavit of service to the same e-mail address 2 business days prior to the case conference before 4 pm.
- The case conference judge will determine whether or not the matter is urgent and the parties will be duly notified
How do I file a (non ex-parte) urgent motion?
- Firstly, serve materials on opposing parties via e-mail – E-mail materials to FamilyTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca
- Then, Triage judge will determine whether the motion is urgent and send an endorsement
- After that, endorsements for urgent motions will contain the date, time, designated judge, and contact information for the conference
- Lastly, a hearing may be held in writing, by telephone, or via video conference.
How do I file a Motion to Change on consent?
- 14B motions or motions to change, with wording agreed upon by BOTH parties, must be filed, alongside material and draft order, via e-mail to Toronto.SCJ.FAMILYINTAKE@ontario.ca.
- Once reviewed and signed, the order will be binding in accordance with the Family Law Rules and returned via e-mail.
Finally, we highly discourage anyone from seeking out legal advice through this article. Book your free family law consultation with a Tailor Law lawyer today by calling 905-366-0202. Our lawyers are waiting to assist you.