Practice Directions – What Are They and Why Are

They Important

It governs how proceedings are conducted in a specific court. Some practice directions apply province-wide while others are only specific to the region. It ensures consistency by making sure that all parties in a proceeding are subjected to and conduct themselves according to the same court directions.

In other words, the court “directs” applicants, respondents, and their legal counsel on how it expects the proceedings to be conducted. For example, if your custody trial is going to be in the Superior Court of Justice, you are required to follow its practice directions which may be similar or different to those of other courts in the region.

So… what are some examples of practice directions?

Consolidated Practice Direction Concerning Family Cases in the Toronto Region, available here.

Part II: Motions

F. Electronic Copies of Materials

16. 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.

K. Trial Records

26. 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.

Why You Must Follow Practice Directions

Any court document being filed must comply both with the Rules of Civil Procedure and with the relevant practice directions. This is why it is important to understand both province-wide and regional practice directions before filing any court documents or appearing before the court in a proceeding. You can find practice directions listed on the Superior Court of Justice under “Practice and Procedure”.

If you do not follow the practice directions of the court hearing your case, your documents may be rejected at the filing counter, or the presiding judicial officer court may make an order against you. The order may include requiring you to pay a cost award or your lawyer who filed the deficient document on your behalf.

Practice Directions during COVID-19

Some practice directions may have been revised during the pandemic. For example, the Ontario Court of Appeal has listed numerous updated practice directions due to COVID-19.

It is important that you consult a legal professional to keep up to date with the most recent province-wide and regional practice directions available so that you do not expose yourself to any potential penalties.

If you are looking for more information, do not hesitate to contact us and our specialist Family Lawyers can discuss your matter in more detail over a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

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