Make family law services easier to find, including triage, early intervention, integrated and collaborative processes, parenting and financial services
Develop and expand proactive management of family issues and more consensual approaches and services, maintaining a focus on safety
Educate people about less adversarial approaches and experiment with new services and processes to create opportunities for consensus resolution
Locate all of the aspects of family law in the same place, including separation, custody and access, and divorce, ideally under one judge
Family law continues to be a major focus of access to justice efforts in Canada. The majority of self-represented litigants in Canadian courts are dealing with the legal aspects of separation and divorce, or are managing the ongoing custody and financial arrangements between parents.
Legal clinics and public legal information services have long focused on helping people understand the processes, forms and options in family disputes. Family courts, lawyers and mediators continue to provide direct legal services while alternative approaches work to reduce conflicts or avoid legal disputes altogether.
In 2020, virtual clinics and empowerment tools supported self-represented litigants and people at the beginning of their family law issues. Courts, public legal education providers, clinics and students increased their focus on early resolution and conflict avoidance. The sector emphasized the best interests of the child through a variety of parental support and by increasing the profile of children at the centre of family issues. Changes to legislation nationally and provincially aligned the priorities of early resolution and the best interests of the child, ensuring that provinces, courts and service providers were empowered to meet family law needs.
© 2019 Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters