Abbott: family law system needs triage court
By AdvocateDaily Staff
Setting up a family law triage court would go a long way toward solving many of the problems plaguing the system, says Toronto lawyer William Abbott.
Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler recently made a public call for mandatory mediation (Full Story) to be part of the process.
The suggestion has been a hot topic with lawyers toiling in the family law trenches. Abbott, a partner at MacDonald & Partners LLP, tells AdvocateDaily.com Winkler’s idea is “great in theory, but in practicality it’s not going to likely work.”
Abbott says it comes down to a lack of funding, which will make the plan simply “hard to implement in areas that don’t have the resources.”
He says the triage court would work like this: “Give people a ten or fifteen minute appointment with a judge. The judge can assess what the problem is, the level of priority and like what they do at a hospital triage them. Do they need a case management judge to oversee every aspect of it? Is there a child protection issue that needs to be dealt with immediately? Is this going to be an extremely complicated case?
“At that triage stage you can also recommend to people, certainly ones that have means, perhaps they’d like to go see a mediator that they pay for.
“And obviously to put more money into the court system, whether it be additional courtrooms, appointing more judges, more money toward the legal aid system.”
William Abbott is a partner at MacDonald & Partners LLP. The firm is located at 90 Adelaide St. West, third floor. Tel: (416) 971-4802.
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