March 13th is the deadline for comments on our family law project options paper. We’ve taken a different approach to this potential project compared to how we selected previous projects.
There’s so much that can be done to address the problems with the family law system that we didn’t want to just select a project. We began with an in-person consultation process last fall and then at the end of January released our options paper. We chose two different kinds of project. The one is a relatively narrow review of the matrimonial home provisions and the other is an attempt to look at the functioning of the system through the conceit of “roles”. Although it might seem unfocused at first blush, the latter option would allow us to refine the project as we receive feedback and would result in a far more extensive look at the system as a whole, something that many people think is required. On the other hand, the matrimonial home project reflects a wide-spread concern with the matrimonial home provisions in the Family Law Act and is certainly on the surface a more manageable project. All typical considerations in selecting a project.
We haven’t selected which of the two we’ll undertake and the Board of Governors must approve it before we can proceed, but this process has been of value to us on its own. As I mentioned before, it is easy to respond to this paper by using the comment box on our website. Of course, it’s also possible to write submissions in response, talk to us on the telephone (including participation in conference calls).
This has been a time-intensive way to develop a project and it might not be suitable for all areas of law, but for family law, affecting so many people in highly diverse communities, we thought facilitating an opportunity to have some (still very limited, we know) impact in selecting the project was the way to go.