Jennifer Walker


Recently Published Ottawa Decisions

Find below recently published Ottawa decisions, available for free through CanLII.org.

Family Matters

Menard v. Jodoin Feres (2018 ONSC 2228)
arrears — child support — outstanding balance — payments — mistake
Justice T. Engelking

Everett v. Carey (2018 ONSC 2166)
father — tutoring — access — surf boards — child
Justice J. Mackinnon

Derakhshan v. Narula (2018 ONSC 2125)
costs — offer to settle — litigation — research — properties
Justice L. Sheard

Dwaydar v. Mohsen (2018 ONSC 2037)
costs — motion — bad faith — cross-motion — step
Justice J. Audet

Mwadi c. Mihalache (2018 ONSC 2052)
visites — pierre tombale — motion en variation — définitive — courriel
Juge M. O’Bonsawin

Serpellini v. Serpellini (2018 ONSC 1954)
father — income — care — business — overnight
Justice J. Audet

Civil Matters

10313033 Canada Inc. v. 2418973 Ontario Inc. et al. (2018 ONSC 2406)
franchisees — arbitration — interlocutory injunction — franchisor — fees
Justice S. Gomery

Continue Reading…


#ThrowbackThursday: Annual Institute of Family Law 1998

As folks head up to Montebello for the 2018 Annual Institute of Family Law this weekend, we’re doing a throwback to the conference from 20 years ago. The 1998 conference was held on May 8th that year, and as was the custom at the time for the Family Law conference, was held in town (in this particular case at the University of Ottawa). Take a look at the program:


Long-Form: Mediation in Family Violence Cases 1

We’re happy to host a new feature on Robeside Assistance, which we are calling Long-Form. Long-Form welcomes contributions from the various committees and other closely related groups to the CCLA, on a topic of recent interest to their members. This month’s contribution is from Lisa Sharp of the Family Law Study Group, which holds regular meetings to discuss family law topics. For more information, please contact Lisa. Enjoy!

Mediation in family violence cases: A viable option to the family court system?

By Lisa Sharp

For some time, Ontario family lawyers have generally agreed that mediation should not be used in cases where there is any claim of family violence. This is primarily due to concerns that there will be an inherent power imbalance in these matters, and that an aggressive spouse can use this power over the victim during negotiations, which would likely result in an unfair agreement.

Over the past 13 years, I have represented both women and men in over one hundred cases where there has been evidence of family violence. In my experience, going to trial in this type of case is fraught with uncertainty, and is potentially more traumatic to the victim than attending mediation.

When we first meet with victims of abuse, they often have a strongly held idea that the family court system will protect them and their children by giving them sole custody and that the abusive parent will be stripped of their parental rights. In fact, this belief that the court will protect them often leads them to go to trial. But there is some evidence that these parties do not feel that the court was able to protect them or their children from their abusers during the trial or in the resulting decisions.

There are many reasons that our family court cannot provide more protection in these cases. First, it is rare for the court to totally stop all contact between an aggressive parent and their child. Notably, these types of cases have serious evidentiary problems, since victims of long term abuse and violence rarely report incidences to police, let alone to their doctors or even to their family members. As many experienced counsel are aware, most victims are deeply embarrassed and frightened to report the reality of their lives for many different reasons.

In addition, often the only witnesses to family violence are the children, and the court is unlikely to allow them to be called as witnesses in our family courts. In one of my cases, the police had investigated a parent for sexual abuse of a three year old, but they did not charge the parent because the three year old boy was considered too young to testify. In the same family case, the father received a 50/50 parenting schedule. This decision shocked my client.

As well, there is a belief that incidences that took place during a marriage will not be a problem once the parties are no longer living together; and that if we can deal with handling the logistics of communication, things will improve, since these incidences are considered “historical incidents”. In my experience, the type of parent who will stalk and harass their ex upon separation isn’t going to stop these harmful behaviours after a trial.

Another problem with these cases is that an abusive spouse will often fire their lawyer early on in the court process and represent themselves. This leads to many new ways that they can harass the victim, including being able to cross examine the victim during the trial, thus re-traumatizing them. The experience of a victim going through a family trial is harrowing given this factor.

These cases are known as “high conflict” cases, and a predominant factor is that often one or both parties suffer from mental health disorders, and they may not be willing or able to follow court orders that result from trials. In fact, I have observed cases where the parties are back in court within weeks of receiving a trial decision, since one or both of the parties do not accept the decision of the Court.

Given all of these factors, it is not surprising that our family courts struggle with how to handle these cases.

Because of these experiences, I have reconsidered the use of mediation for complex, high conflict cases, including family violence cases. My approach includes bringing an application to family court, and once preliminary issues have been taken care of, I strongly urge my clients to try mediation with an experienced family law mediator. The parties are kept in separate rooms with their lawyers, and negotiations can take place over a few days. The outcomes have been outstanding, with participants feeling like their voices are being heard, and they state that they feel like many of their concerns have been addressed. In addition, the mediation process can be therapeutic for both parties, and it is more likely that their continuing conflict with respect to the children will be de-escalated.

In fact, if both parties are treated with dignity and respect, it is much more likely that they will comply with the resulting court order, since they have been part of the process in creating the agreement. It is true that the victim of family violence may have to make some concessions from their original position, but this is no worse than what they might obtain as a trial outcome.


Even More New on CanLII: Newsletters

Just recently we shared the announcement that CanLII had added law reviews to its databases. In another exciting development, they’ve announced that they have now added newsletters to their growing wealth of secondary materials.

From the Newsletters page of CanLII, you can now review issues of two newsletters that have been shared with CanLII:

  • “Justice as Healing” – published by the Native Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan
  • Siskinds Class Actions Case Review – published by Siskinds LLP

While these topics may not intersect with your practice, I suspect CanLII is looking to grow the collection of newsletters they can offer to users. If these do add value to your practice, however, enjoy!


Recently Published Ottawa Decisions

Find below recently published Ottawa decisions, available for free through CanLII.org.

Family Matters

Deneumoustier c. Jodoin (2018 ONCS 1450)
père — mère — pension alimentaire — école — garde
Juge M. Labrosse

Collins v. Nowosad (2018 ONSC 1977)
costs — litigation — reasonably have expected to pay — offer — child
Justice M. Linhares de Sousa

Clark v. Moxley (2018 ONSC 1948)
security for costs — strike — assignment in bankruptcy — cost — affidavit
Justice M. Labrosse

Verhey v. Verhey (2018 ONSC 1943)
after-tax benefit — spousal support — after-tax cost — midpoint — child support
Justice M. Shelston

Dulude v. Cordeiro (2018 ONSC 1849)
children — access — parent — supervised — weekend
Justice P. Kane

Continue Reading…


Canadian Bar Review: Now Open Access

Yesterday’s post about CanLII now having law reviews recalls another news item from this month that you may have missed.

The Canadian Bar Association has recently made all of the past issues of the Canadian Bar Review available online and open access. To access past articles, no password, credit card, or anything else is required!

To check out the archive of the Canadian Bar Review, click here.


New on CanLII: Law Reviews

CanLII announced an exciting new addition to CanLII on Friday: law reviews! From their blog:

It has been a long term goal for us to have a substantial collection of legal commentary on CanLII, so we are thrilled to be able to tell you about an expansion of CanLII’s secondary sources section to include law reviews.

Law reviews are often the only place a particular topic is discussed, and they often provide insight into the law for a particular jurisdiction where no one else does that make them invaluable for research.

In addition to being able to navigate within the commentary section by law review and issue, results from law review issues will appear in your search results. If all you want to see is commentary, you can limit your search results by clicking on the “Secondary sources” tab.

We would like to thank the generous contributors of content that will help enrich CanLII as a legal research tool. Here are the law reviews that are participating in our initial launch of this project:

Alberta Law Review

Appeal: Review of Current Law and Law Reform

Canadian Bar Review (coming soon)

Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law

Canadian Journal of Human Rights

Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies

Justice As Healing (coming soon)

McGill Journal of Dispute Resolution

McGill Journal of Law and Health

McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law

Ottawa Law Review

University of New Brunswick Law Journal (coming soon)

Currently we have loaded them back to 2015, but more law reviews and additional years of coverage will be added over time. If you edit or publish a law journal you’d like to see on CanLII, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you! (feedback-form@canlii.org).

Check out their law review coverage from the Law Journals page on CanLII. A heads up if you use the left sidebar on CanLII – to get to all of the secondary sources, including law reviews, the new heading is “CanLIIDocs.”


Recently Published Ottawa Decisions

Find below recently published Ottawa decisions, available for free through CanLII.org.

Family Matters

Joachim v. Denis (2018 ONSC 1593)
youngest — access — disclosure — motion — children
Justice D. Summers

Sarmiento v. Ortiz (2018 ONSC 1669)
costs — cross-motion seeking to strike — offer — motion — recovery
Justice T. Engelking

Curry v. Curry (2018 ONSC 1667)
number of hours — expended — hour — behaved — bill of costs
Justice T. Engelking

Whitteker v. Legue (2018 ONSC 1557)
paternal grandparents — child — access — home — care
Justice D. Summers

Davis v. Davis (2018 ONSC 1537)
retroactive — arrears — income — child support — blameworthy
Justice T. Engelking

CAS v. C.L. (2018 ONSC 1565)
child — video — threshold reliability — statements — evidence
Justice J. Mackinnon

Bridge v. Laurence (2018 ONSC 1558)
motion — costs — surreality — overcomplicate — spousal
Justice C. MacLeod

Akkawi v. Habli (2018 ONSC 1446)
spousal support — income — equalization payment — offers — child support
Justice M. Shelston

De Riso v. Randazzo (2018 ONSC 1781)
children — income — school — custody — alternating
Justice T. Engelking

Civil Matters

Cohen v. Cohen (2018 ONSC 1613)
estate — consolidating — procedural motions — contracts — dependant’s relief application
Justice R. Maranger

Continue Reading…


#ThrowbackThursday: Demolition Before and After

Things are really starting to take shape in Phase 1 of our renovations project. It’s remarkable how quickly walls go down, come back up, and completely change the look of the space. I have a couple of photos here from before, and the current state of affairs. I’ll also answer a couple FAQs down below!

Before:

Visitors to the library will, of course, recognize where the bathrooms were, the old hallway into legislation (or more accurately for many people, the way over to the lounge), and the inside of the copy room. These walls are mostly all gone now, except for that rounded bit of wall in picture two (take note of that – it’s a load-bearing pillar).Continue Reading…


Re-Ordered Procedure Titles

A quick note to mention that these two incredibly popular titles have recently been re-ordered and received in the library. If you would like to consult either of these books, please speak with a CCLA Library staff member. We’ve had to purchase these titles several times as other copies have gone missing, so we’d like to remind everyone that all books – even these – are for use in the courthouse only.

Image of "Ontario Courtroom Procedure" and "The Law of Civil Procedure in Ontario"

If you’d like to purchase copies of these for your own library, LexisNexis will gladly exchange your money for books. You can pick up the most current edition of these books at the following links: