Justice Sherr's Acceptance Speech for the Award for Excellence in Family Law in Memory of James G. McLeod

  • 01 décembre 2022
  • The Honourable Justice Stanley B. Sherr

The Family Law community has always been innovative.

I mentioned court-led innovations before.

But consider these other innovations from the family law community:

           a) The explosion of mediation and then mediation/arbitration

           b) Parenting Coordination

           c) Collaborative Law

           d) Dispute Resolution Officer

           e) Mandatory Information Program

           d) Multi-disciplinary education programs

           e) Reverse mortgages – just seeing if you are paying attention

This innovation continued during the pandemic.

The Family Law Bar really stepped up.

At the outset of the pandemic, it was the OBA who provided the courts with Zoom licences.

Families continued to be represented and represented well, even though lawyers were advocating with one hand tied behind their backs.

We have seen some long overdue improvements during the pandemic.

We finally have electronic filing.

We have seen value in having certain proceedings conducted remotely.

One of the wonders of Zoom is that I can hear a witness from Ghana one day and a witness from Japan the next, and the connection is so good it seems they are in the building next door.

             Of course, the connection of the lawyer, who is actually next door, will constantly freeze.

However, the pandemic has made the last few years challenging for all of us.

           a) It has isolated us.

           b) It has made it more difficult for new lawyers to integrate into the family law community by       
                watching and meeting other lawyers at court and by interacting with other lawyers at education

           c) It has made practicing law more stressful.

We have also seen a fraying of trust in institutions and a decline in civil discourse.

This is happening world-wide.

This is an understandable reaction when people feel frightened and insecure.

In Family Law we know that best better than most.

So, what does that mean for us?