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 you have been instructed to self-isolate by a doctor, a public health official or by consulting the Ontario Ministry of Health website

ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE

What hearings are going on?

– New proceedings which are URGENT

– Case conferences on previously adjourned matters

– Where locally directed, other matters, in addition to certain in-chambers requests.

How are these hearings being held?

– By conference call unless otherwise directed

– In-person hearings where necessary will be organized by local courts

– On a prioritized basis

How do I file my documents?

– Documents/Requests should be e-mailed to the appropriate courthouse. See https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/courthouse-email-addresses/

– E-mail TITLES should include:

o 1) Level of Court;

o 2) Type of Matter;

o 3) File number (or NEW);

o 4)Type of Document

o Example: OCJ Family Matter #29203 Case Conference

– E-mail CONTENTS should include:

o 1)Court file number (if existing);

o 2)Short title of proceeding;

o 3)List of documents attached (Cannot exceed 35 MB);

o 4) Type of Request;

o 5) Confirmation of service (HOW + WHEN other party was served);

o 6) Name and Role and contact info of person submitting request (E-mail + Phone number)

o 7) Relevant prior orders/endorsements, affidavits which are either sworn or if not sworn belong to affiants available to affirm contents via videoconference or telephone

– Documents filed by e-mail DO NOT need to be filed in person

– If 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. Visit the Superior Court of Justice website to find region-specific instructions.

What hearings are going on?

– Urgent matters

– Case Conferences

– Settlement Conferences

– Certain motions: Urgent motions, Hague Applications and Children’s Aid Society appeals will continue to be heard, as well as motions set by case conference judges, to follow case conferences

– Motions to change on Consent: 14B motions for consent orders and motions to change on 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.

– Send a hard copy of documents and fees to the court office that day or the following day.

– 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?

– 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. A hard copy of documents and the appropriate filing fee shall be sent by regular mail to the court office that day or the following day.

How do I serve and file Case Conference Documents?

– Non-Urgent Case Conferences: Once an application has been issued and a date has been booked (on consent at https://calendly.com/conference-booking , or with the aid of a trial coordinator through e-mailing Toronto.family.caseconferences@ontario.ca), the serving and filing of briefs can be done via e-mail along with an affidavit of service to Toronto.SCJ.FAMILYINTAKE@ontario.ca. Further detailed instructions on regular non-urgent case conferences can be found on the Superior Court’s Website at the link below.

– Urgent Case Conferences: o Either party can send an email to Toronto.family.caseconferences@ontario.ca along with their case conference brief.

o The case conference coordinator will set a date/time for the case conference. No confirmation form is required prior to the conference once the date and time have been confirmed.

o 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.

o The case conference judge will determine whether or not the matter is urgent and the parties will be duly notified

How do I file an (non ex-parte) urgent motion?

– Serve materials on opposing parties via e-mail – E-mail materials to FamilyTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca

– Triage judge will determine whether motion is urgent and send endorsement

– Endorsements for urgent motions will contain date, time, designated judge and contact information for conference

– Matters may be heard/decided in writing, by telephone or via videoconference

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.

Book your free family law consultation with a Tailor Law lawyer today by calling 905-366-0202. Our lawyers are waiting to assist you.

References:

For further information, see: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/notice-to/#B_Family_Matters

https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/

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