Canadian Lawyer

September 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 38 of 51 37 the document, put it into the paper file and then take it to the judge. The only aspect of the process that advanced was the ability to serve by fax, she says. But, "come COVID, you can't do justice that way anymore. Within two weeks, the chief justice was faced with having to completely modify the way justice was delivered." Urgent family law motions now involve sending an email to the trial co-ordi- nator and the trial judge granting a hearing. Motions might be limited to 10 pages, with a dial-in number for the case to be heard by teleconference. For a recent arbitration case, Hannaford says, "We did it in a day. We saved money and time. What COVID-19 has done for family law and other areas is that it has shocked the system into the 21st century, because they didn't have any choice." The pandemic has also caused lawyers to co-operate more with each other, says Simionati, just as parties are encouraged to co-operate more. "In the past, if someone was fighting over a certain issue, now . . . that issue [may] no longer be as big as everybody thought that it was." On the flip side, parties are still duking it out, taking advantage of opportunities for litigation that COVID-19 may have presented. Pawlitza predicts "seeing the effect of the pandemic for quite a long time to come." It will be an interesting time, she says, and not an easy one for parents in deciding on vaccines and schooling. "It's quite remarkable," she adds. "All these things that we would never in a million years have thought we would be dealing with — and swearing people over Zoom! I don't think it entered anyone's consciousness." "All these things that we would never in a million years have thought we would be dealing with . . . I don't think it entered anyone's consciousness." Laurie Pawlitza, Torkin Manes LLP FIND LEADING CANADIAN LAWYERS The Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada is the most comprehensive annual guide to Canada's top legal talent, profiling the lawyers most recommended by their peers in 38 practice areas. Visit to find a ranked lawyer You can use the guide to: make informed business decisions validate your choices stay on top of Canadian legal issues In addition to extensive lawyer bios with photos, the directory also features: contributions from leading practitioners across Canada highlights of cross-border issues recent developments in their practice areas When you are looking for specialized legal counsel, turn to the resource that showcases peer-ranked Canadian legal talent Lexpert - ALM House Ad_.indd 4 3/22/2020 12:07:05 AM GOVERNMENT DELAYS DIVORCE ACT AMENDMENTS » On June 5, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti announced the delay of the coming into force of changes to the Divorce Act, which was scheduled for July 1. » Due to extraordinary circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the coming into force date has been deferred to March 1, 2021. Source: Department of Justice Canada

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