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Mar 4, 2020

Daniel Melamed speaks to Law Times about the use of amicus curiae in family law

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Daniel Melamed, a partner in our Family Law Group, speaks to Law Times about the use of amicus curiae in family law.

In a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision, the appellate judges took the opportunity to lay down the law around the proper use of amicus curiae, or friend of the court.

Court of Appeal judges Peter Lauwers, Katherine van Rensburg and Lois Roberts, who were unanimous in their ruling, addressed the issue of the appeal being technically moot because “the trial has been completed with both amicus participating; nothing substantive between the parties to the family law case remains to be resolved.”

However, the appellate judges wanted to address the trial judge’s “several errors,” noting “it would be rare in a family law case to appoint one amicus, and the circumstances would virtually never justify the appointment of two.” The ruling goes on to say that had the appeal not been moot because the case was resolved, it would have been allowed for the reasons discussed.

“When you unpack it, the court says essentially the way the judge went about this whole approach was not appropriate,” says Daniel Melamed, a partner at Torkin Manes LLP. “It was a statement to the bar and to the judges — don’t do this. They wanted a message sent — don’t ask for this unless it’s truly an amicus case.”

Read the full Law Times article here

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