What's New

Welcome to the “What's New?” section of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Trial Division (Family) website. This section will include information bulletins, links to news releases, event notices, new publications, speeches, photos and other items.

CourtCall Now Available in all Judicial Centres

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador wishes to advise members of the Bar and public that CourtCall telephonic courtroom appearances are now available in all Judicial Centres in all courtrooms.

Voluntary telephonic appearances through CourtCall may now be made in certain matters before all Judicial Centres (both General and Family Divisions) of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. In order to use CourtCall, you must first check to ensure that you may appear in your matter by telephone. Rule 47A of the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1986 opens new window, sets out how you request to appear by telephone.

Once you have confirmed with the Court that you may appear by telephone, please contact CourtCall NOT LESS THAN THREE (3) COURT DAYS BEFORE THE HEARING DATE at 1-888-882-6878 to set up your telephone appearance. Please note that there is a $55.00 to use this service, payable to CourtCall, LLC (you will require a credit card to make the payment). A confirmation from CourtCall, LLC, will be emailed or faxed to your office upon the filing and payment outlined above. You can find more information about CourtCall on their website: www.courtcall.com.  opens new window

A CourtCall appearance is made as part of a Court’s usual calendar. Unless notified to the contrary, all counsel who have made arrangements with CourtCall (provided that they have also obtained prior approval from the Court, where required) may appear by telephone. A pre-hearing check-in will occur five minutes before the scheduled hearing time.

A CourtCall appearance is voluntary and may be made without consent of the other party. The Court, however, reserves the discretion to require personal appearance.

Wireless Internet Access in Court for Lawyers and Self-Represented Litigants

Starting on May 1, 2015, lawyers and self-represented parties needing wireless internet access in the courtrooms of the St. John's Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador will be able to request access to an in-Court wireless network.

The wireless network will be in place to facilitate Court proceedings by allowing lawyers and parties to check email, access their schedules and conduct research. Persons seeking access to the wireless network will be required to complete a request form and agree to the Wireless Guest Access and Electronic Devices Policy which sets out terms of usage for both the network and electronic devices in the Courthouse. Requests must be submitted to the Registry in the Court Centre where access is sought. Access will be valid for a period of 30 days.

New Amendments to the Costs Rules Applicable in Family Law Proceedings

The Rules Committee of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division, has recently approved changes to the rules governing costs awards in family law proceedings. For more information about the changes, please see the following Notice to the Profession:

Notice to the Profession – Ammendments to Family Costs Rules (February 13, 2015) PDF (125 KB)

Point of Entry Screening to Begin at St. John’s Family Division Location

Effective Monday, December 1, 2014, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division (Family Division) in St. John’s will begin conducting point of entry screening operations. In order to facilitate this new practice, the Family Division in St. John’s will be closed each lunch hour from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

This temporary measure will remain in place until the beginning of the Winter Term (January 12, 2015) at which time it will be reassessed.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact the Family Division Administrator (709) 729-2588 or denisehammond@supreme.court.nl.ca.

Rules of Court Project

Please see the following Notice to the Profession announcing the new Rules of Court Project.

Amendments to Family Law Rules (Rule 56A)

The Rules Committee of the Trial Division recently approved changes to the family law rules dealing with interim applications, examinations for discovery, financial disclosure and settlement conferences. For more information, please see the Notice to the Profession below.

Duty Counsel

Court Attire

Access to Court Records in Family Proceedings

Applications Practice Note

A Practice Note on applications was published in the Gazette on October 19, 2012 and is now in force.  It covers a few new procedures for filing documents for applications and outlines what happens when documents for applications are filed late.  A copy of this directive can be found in the Practice Notes section.  Questions and comments should be directed to Angela Whitehead, Legal Officer of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division (angelawhitehead@supreme.court.nl.ca / (709) 729-4743). 

Cheques and Money Orders

Effective immediately, cheques and money orders remitted to the Supreme Court must be made payable to “Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador”. Cheques and money orders payable otherwise will be returned for correction. If you have questions, please contact the court house in your area.

Change to Court Attire

Please note that the practice of dispensing with dark clothes in the summer for appearances in Chambers in both the General and Family Divisions of the Trial Division has been DISCONTINUED.

Amendments to Rules 5, 15, 49 and 56A

Changes to Rules 5 (Commencement of Proceedings), 15 (Amendment), 49 (Orders) and 56A (Family Law) will come into force on July 1, 2012. These amendments were published in the Gazette as Regulation 48/12 on May 25, 2012. A Notice to the Profession containing a summary of the changes has been added to the Practice Notes section of this website. Comments on these amendments should be forwarded the Legal Officer of the Trial Division, Angela Whitehead, at (709) 729-4743 or angelawhitehead@supreme.court.nl.ca.

Ex Parte Applications in Family Proceedings

In order to provide some guidance to litigants and their counsel, a new Practice Note relating to applications has been published and was recently uploaded to the Practice Notes section of the court’s website. This new Practice Note applies to all ex parte applications in family proceedings except applications for warrants under the Children and Youth Care and Protection Act. Both the issuance and disposition of such applications are addressed in the Practice Note. If you have any questions or comments, contact the Legal Officer of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division, Angela Whitehead at (709) 729-4743 or angelawhitehead@supreme.court.nl.ca

New Scale of Costs in Effect July 1, 2011

A new Scale of Costs was passed by regulation in May 2011. It applies to all matters in the Supreme Court, Trial Division in which an order is made on or after July 1, 2011 for party and party costs to be taxed. This new Scale of Costs replaces the old one and aims to make the issue of costs simpler and more predictable. If you have any questions or comments relating to the new Scale of Costs, please contact the Legal Officer of the Trial Division, Angela Whitehead, at (709) 729-4743 or angelawhitehead@supreme.court.nl.ca.

Expansion of Family Division into the West Coast

As of June 1, 2010, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Family Division will expand its jurisdiction to the West Coast of Newfoundland & Labrador. The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Family Division will have exclusive jurisdiction for all family law matters which arise in its geographical jurisdiction. Find a description of what areas on the West Coast fall within the judicial area of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Family Division.

Courthouse Court Office

Important Fee Changes for Self-Represented Litigants in Family Division!

As of June 1, 2010, self-represented litigants will be charged the same court fees as those who are represented by lawyers. The schedule of fees is available online.