An “urgent” or “emergency” motion is usually the exception to the rule in family law cases. An urgent motion contemplates matters such as abduction, threats of harm, and dire financial circumstances. The authority to bring such a motion is pursuant to Rule 14 of the Family Law Rules, which indicates that “[n]o notice of motion or supporting evidence may be served and no motion may be heard before a conference dealing with the substantive issues in the case has been completed.” A lawyer should appropriately advise their clients of the chance of success, because often what is urgent to a client is not considered urgent by the Court.
The leading case in Ontario on urgent motions is Rosen v. Rosen,  OJ No 62 (QL), whereby the Court confirmed that “…an urgent motion within a court proceeding contemplates issues such as abduction, threats of harm, dire financial circumstances and these can be addressed prior to a case conference.” A recent Ontario Superior Court decision Holmquist v Holmquist, 2016 ONSC 1796, found that even in instances where access of a child is withheld, by one parent from another, this would not necessarily qualify the matter as urgent. You should consult with a lawyer to analyze your case before moving forward with an urgent motion.
The Court has also indicated that the first step should be an inquiry as to when case conference dates are available to deal with the matter. If there is a particularly pressing issue, the trial coordinator should be made aware of this, as there may be times that could be made available for cases of urgency in order to obtain a faster case conference date.
For assistance in evaluating your family law matters, please contact Jonathan Solomon (Extension 203) or Sabrina Herscovitch (Extension 204) of our office at 613-722-1313.
Menzies Lawyers is a multi-service Ottawa based litigation firm which can assist with a broad range of civil litigation and family law matters. This blog article by Jonathan Solomon is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.