Family law disputes and brushes with the law under the Provincial Offences Act likely constitute two of the most common ways people come into contact with the legal system (I’m not counting here going to a lawyer to have a will prepared or to buy or sell real estate). The Law Commission of Ontario is undertaking projects in both these areas that should benefit a good proportion of Ontarians.
We’ve decided to look at entry level processes in the family law system to develop recommendations for best practices. We know that there are many substantive areas of family law that could benefit from reform, but our thinking is that families in dispute need a smoother, more responsive entry into the system if they are going to benefit from substantive provisions, current or reformed. We’re taking the perspectives of users of the system and justice workers.
The POA project is an overhaul of the statute in effect to modernize it and bring coherence that might have been lost by developments in other areas of the law that have bypassed the POA.
In both projects, we’ll try to keep abreast of what others are doing in the area, sometimes just to avoid duplication, sometimes to adopt or build what others have done, perhaps to collaborate. In the family law project in particular, we are considering using our website to “link” those working in the area. And in both projects, we will look at our technology can make things easier and serve as a complement to the human touch.
More extensive descriptions of both projects will soon be posted on the LCO website.