Friday, December 7, 2012

Reasons in Family Law

Titova v. Titov, 2012 ONCA 864, released today, makes it clear that reasons are as important and necessary in family law cases as elsewhere:

[29] The requirement that a judge give reasons for decision is clear. It is an inherent aspect of the discharge of a judge's responsibilities. See R. v. Sheppard 2002 SCC 26. As Binnie J. noted at para. 24 of Sheppard:

[T]he requirement of reasons is tied to their purpose and the purpose varies with the context. At the trial level, the reasons justify and explain the result. The losing party knows why he or she has lost. Informed consideration can be given to grounds for appeal. Interested members of the public can satisfy themselves that justice has been done, or not, as the case may be.

[30] The need for reasons in the family law context was affirmed by this court in Young v. Young (2003), 63 O.R. (3d) 112 and Bodnar v. Blackman (2006), 82 OR (3d) 423 at para.11. At para. 423. At para. 27 of Young, Laskin J.A., writing for the court, stated:

The desirability of reasoned reasons in a criminal case rests on three main rationales: public confidence in the administration of the justice system, the importance of telling the losing party the reasons for having lost, and making the right of appeal meaningful. These three rationales also apply to a family law case and are relevant in this case.

[31] The adequacy of reasons is determined on a functional basis. The reviewing court should consider whether the reasons are sufficient given the three rationales stated above. In my view, given the obvious issues disclosed by the record, it was an error to award all the requested extraordinary expenses without any engagement with the test or explanation of why the award was appropriate.

[32] I agree with Justice Gillese's comments at paras. 21 and 22 of Bodnar which emphasize that appellate courts must not place an impossible burden requiring perfect reasons on busy trial courts. The reasons, nevertheless, must be adequate.

[33] In this case, the reasons were inadequate in providing any explanation of how the facts of this case interacted with the legislative test, or to provide for meaningful appellate review. As a result, the order for post-November 2008 extraordinary expenses as well as the order fixing the amount of the s. 7 expenses to be paid in the future cannot stand.


KerrLaw said...

Titov is not ONCA but onsc

KerrLaw said...

Titov is not ONCA but onsc

Anonymous said...

I wish you would not post all these "legal" posts on is a political blog and we have no interest in this tuff..please find a proper place for this material... thanks