Ontario Civil

Civil Procedure

Principles of openness and transparency to be balanced against protecting children

Father got mother pregnant in 1998. Around time of child’s birth, mother and father executed agreement pursuant to which father paid lump sum in full satisfaction of his child support obligations. Agreement provided father would have no contact with mother and child. Father was currently lawyer who was married and had three other children. Child learned identity of father when she was 13 years old. Child commenced application against father for child support. Father commenced motion for order sealing court file, allowing parties to use initials in lieu of names, and restraining child from contacting father’s family. Father filed affidavit in which he included views of child psychotherapist. Child brought motion for order striking out this part of affidavit. Motion dismissed. It was not improper for father to make reference to views of child psychotherapist in his affidavit in support of his motion for sealing order. This was not case of father stating, without further evidence, what someone else had told them. In this case, father had set out his understanding of child psychotherapist’s concerns and included letter from her. No determination was being made as to whether child psychotherapist met requirements for admission of expert evidence at trial. Principles of openness and transparency of courts had to be balanced against protecting children who might be adversely affected by litigation.

M. (C.M.) v. C. (D.G.) (Jan. 24, 2014, Ont. S.C.J., Darla A. Wilson J., File No. FS-13-18928) 238 A.C.W.S. (3d) 59.

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