Applications are a type of “chambers” proceeding. All applications are heard “in chambers.” This does not mean that they are heard in the judge’s “chambers” or office — they are still heard in open court and the hearings are audio taped.
For example, a party in a family law case may submit a chambers application to request an interim order for child support.
The term “chambers” is used to describe a type of hearing that is different from a full trial.
Chambers proceedings differ from trials in these ways:
- Evidence is generally presented in the form of affidavits, which are written statements (instead of by witnesses)
- Lawyers and the judge do not wear robes
- If they are for less than two hours, they can be scheduled for any day on which the court sits (trial dates have to be reserved with the trial scheduling division of the registry)
In proceedings that start with a Notice of Family Claim, applications usually deal with procedural issues, parenting concerns or property issues that come up as your case proceeds through the steps leading to trial.
For example, you may believe another party has documents that have not been produced or you may be having trouble getting another party to show up at an examination for discovery. In this case, you can apply to the court for an order that the party produce documents or shows up at an examination for discovery. These are practical problems that can come up in moving your case forward and they are often the subject of applications.
Before making family law applications, the parties must participate in a Judicial Case Conference as per Rule 7-1(2), unless they fall within an exception under Rule 7-1(3).
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