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April 24, 1997

To: Eric Tarkington

From: Yvonne Choquette

Re: New Family Law Rules

The following are my comments on the new rules:

  1. That there be an inclusion for required mediation so a party has this low-cost option instead of being faced with "pay per use" court costs. This is especially critical in the situation where the other party wants to by-pass mediation because they have an extremely powerful lawyer who will "get them what they want but it may cost them". Under the "loser pay" system, the party with this option won't have to worry about cost anymore; the loser will pay. Thus it is absolutely critical that there be alternatives such as required mediation set out in the rules.
  2. That affidavits in family law motions be required to have filed with them complete substantiating material for all claims being made. If it is found that claims are unsubstantiated the judge hearing the case shall dismiss the case with costs to be paid by the party who has claims that were not substantiated.
  3. As the new rules will accomodate a person acting on their own behalf, it must also eliminate the practice of cross-examination in the interests of fairness.
  4. Under the section specific to the Office of the Children's Lawyer, please include a provision for their reports to be filed independently with the court such that the report and any material surrounding the O. of C. L. is no longer filed as evidence for the plaintiff or the defendant when the case goes to trial.
  5. Use of audio and video evidence collected in the child's presence is intrusive and detrimental to the child's best interest. It should not be used at trial.