Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

Family Law Rules (Ontario)

Province/Territory
Ontario

Type of service
Family Court Services

Services offered
The Family Law Rules are specialized rules of procedure for family law cases. They apply in the three courts that deal with family cases, the Ontario Court of Justice, the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario’s Unified Family Court) and the Superior Court of Justice.

The rules and forms use plain language in order to help clients understand the court process more easily. The rules incorporate a system of case management, key features of which include a duty to manage cases expeditiously and fairly; a mandatory conference in every contested case, other than in child protection cases; and, other than in child protection cases and enforcement cases, a listing of cases for trial within 365 days, failing which parties must arrange a case conference with a judge. Child protection cases follow a more detailed timeline for each step in the case and must be heard within a 120-day (four-months) timeframe. The time period can only be extended by a judge if it is in the best interests of the child.

Pilot or ongoing service
The Family Law Rules were introduced in 1999 in Family Courts and the Ontario Court of Justice. The Rules made significant changes in the way family cases are processed.

Effective July 1, 2004, they were expanded to apply in all Superior Court of Justice locations. As a result, there is now one set of court rules for all family cases at the trial level across the province.

Department responsible
The Family Rules Committee makes the Family Law Rules, subject to the approval of the Attorney General. The Committee is composed of:

  • 13 judges (from the Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court of Justice, and Court of Appeal for Ontario),
  • 10 lawyers (appointed by the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice, and the Law Society of Upper Canada), and
  • 4 Ministry of the Attorney General representatives.

How to access this service
Not applicable.

Location(s)
The Family Law Rules apply across Ontario.
[ Service(s) offered ]

Language(s)
French and English

Publications/information
You can obtain an electronic copy of the Family Law Rules and the applicable forms in English or in French from the Ministry of the Attorney General website at: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/

Costs
Not applicable

Governing legislation/legislative authority
The Family Law Rules, O. Reg. 114/99 are a regulation made under the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C. 43.

Contact person(s)
Helena Likwornik
Secretary, Family Rules Committee and Counsel, Court of Appeal for Ontario
Osgoode Hall
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N5

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