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Self-represented in a Family Court Matter? How to Know if your Matter is “Urgent” During COVID-19

By Sandra Carnegie on March 31, 2020 • Family Law

Family law is complex and while it is important to hire a lawyer, if you can, to ensure that your rights are protected, more and more parties in family law court matters are choosing to represent themselves. With the current suspension of all but urgent family matters in our court system, and the move by courts to remote hearings, navigating the court procedures as a self-represented family litigant is that much more complex.

The Law Society of Ontario (LSO), with the support of both the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, has launched an interim emergency family law referral telephone line to provide assistance to people who are self-represented and who are trying to determine whether or not their family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the Court on an “urgent” basis and, if so, how to proceed in making that request.

This emergency service will connect self-represented litigants with family lawyers who will provide up to 30 minutes of free legal advice specific to determining whether their family court matter is urgent. The lawyer may also be able to provide referrals to other available legal services. Additional services may be available from the lawyer on a private retainer basis, from Legal Aid Ontario, from the Law Society Referral Service or through lawyers in your area who offer unbundled legal services.

If you represent yourself in a family law matter and have questions about whether your matter is “urgent”, you can contact the LSO’s emergency service during business hours at:


Carnegie Law Office is a boutique family law office with over 20 years’ experience empowering families to make choices for their children, their own lives, and their future.



The information provided in these pages is intended as general information only and not as legal advice. Use of this website or the information contained herein does not establish a solicitor-client relationship. Every person’s situation is different and you should seek legal advice specific to your particular circumstances.