Filing process can slow down your court case
Many of my clients become confused and frustrated as how long court can take. Some give in to unfair negotiations because litigation has emotionally and financial drained them.
Injected to this already time consuming and dawdling process, is court filing.
I can only speak for the Peel Region as our practice is right across one of the busiest court houses in the country.
When anytime a client has started a court case in Family Court, we have to file our client’s Application and supporting materials. One of the supporting materials that are required with your Application in Family Court are your Notice of Assessments- and you need three years of Notice of Assessments, not just one! There are, however, exceptions to this standard rule- which your lawyer can advise you on.
If my client does not have that, we cannot file the material. Then the client has to call CRA and wait a few weeks to receive it, give it to us and we file it. However if the client cannot, we have to file an Affidavit, a sworn document, explaining to the court why they do not have their Notice of Assessments and requesting that the court may allow the client to file the Application without the Notice of Assessments. I have done this many times with differing results. Depending on who the filing court clerk is, sometimes they allow the filing OR reject the filing and you have to give your client the bad news that it was rejected and now they MUST wait for their Notice of Assessments to arrive.
But what if you have been kicked out of your home and need to start the case right away?
OR what if you have not seen your children for over a month? Then what?
Time and time again I have seen clients wanting to start a court case but give up without even entering the court house.
Litigation is not for everyone, but the courts are there for the ones who NEED a judge to make a decision. Having arbitrary decisions that are made at the counter can slow and frustrate the process.
It costs people money and their emotional well being to go through this. Remember, a good number of people in the family court system are not represented by counsel and do not have the legal resources to guide them through this process. Maybe a better streamlined approach that will give guidance to the law clerks and to the public can help the very first stage of commencing legal action.
Shokheen K. Singh, LL.B
Barrister and Solicitor