Wading Into Ontario’s Family Law Mess
Chrstie Blatchford wrote a series of pieces in The National Post on the family law system in Ontario, stating,
Family court is the place where any hope of minimally civilized human behaviour goes to die.
It is accepted, even by those who work within it, that Ontario’s family law system is utterly broken.
A few lawyers, leading among them the law professor and reformer Omar Ha-Redeye, are trying to change it. More simply conduct themselves properly and reasonably, not adapting “the scorched-earth” approach to litigation that has seen costs balloon.
She cites Omar Ha-Redeye’s paper at the 2016 FDRIO conference, All in the Family (of Licensees): Pragmatic Approaches to Implementing Paralegal Integration into Family Law,
According to a paper Ha-Redeye presented at a Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario conference last fall, a 2014-15 Toronto Lawyers Association survey found that 57 per cent of family law litigants don’t have lawyers and are self-represented in court.
You know why? Mostly because they’ve already run out of money on lawyers.
The current rules say that judges may hold lawyers personally accountable for costs incurred through frivolous and unsubstantiated allegations, rambling pleadings whose sole purpose is to antagonize, and vitriolic language, etc.
But it’s rarely applied, Ha-Redeye says, and the “may” should be changed to “shall,” so that the judge has to consider the conduct of the lawyer and in particular, if he or she has “run up costs without reasonable cause.”