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Copyright 2000: Queen’s Printer,
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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Revised Statutes of Newfoundland 1990


CHAPTER U-3

AN ACT RESPECTING THE CREATION OF A UNIFIED FAMILY COURT

Analysis

1. Short title

2. Interpretation

3. Unified Family Court

4. Judge

5. Territorial jurisdiction

6. Jurisdiction of court

7. Judge may transfer case

8. Jurisdiction of court may be extended

9. Rules

10. Standing in court

11. Persons excluded

12. Investigation

13. Clerk and staff of court

14. Agreements

15. Unified Family Court Committee

16. Court order binds Crown

Schedule


1. This Act may be cited as the Unified Family Court Act.

1977 c88 s1; 1986 c42 Sch B

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Interpretation

2. (1) In this Act

(a) "judicial area" means the area set out in the Schedule; and

(b) "proceeding" includes an action, cause, matter, petition or application.

(2) This Act shall be read with the Judicature Act.

1977 c88 s2; 1979 c14 s1

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Unified Family Court

3. The Unified Family Court, a division of the Supreme Court, is continued.

1977 c88 s4

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Judge

4. (1) The Chief Justice of the Trial Division shall appoint a judge of the Trial Division to be presiding judge of the Unified Family Court and the presiding judge shall take and sign the following oath or affirmation of office before beginning his or her duties:

"I_____________________________ do solemnly swear (or solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm) that I will truly and faithfully execute the duties, powers and trusts of a judge presiding over the Unified Family Court to the best of my skill and knowledge." (Where an oath is taken, add "So help me God").

(2) A judge of the Trial Division is a judge of the Unified Family Court but a judge, other than the presiding judge of the Unified Family Court, may not preside over the Unified Family Court except on the request of the Chief Justice of the Trial Division.

(3) Where the Chief Justice of the Trial Division requests, another judge of the Trial Division may hold sittings of the Unified Family Court concurrently in the main Court House of the Trial Division and the proceedings shall be considered to be before the Unified Family Court.

(4) The clerks and officials of the Judicial Centre of St. John's shall be considered to be the clerks and staff of the Unified Family Court appointed under section 13 for the purposes of this section.

1986 c42 Sch B

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Territorial jurisdiction

5. (1) The Unified Family Court shall hold sittings in premises located within the judicial area.

(2) Without limiting the prerogatives vested in the Crown, nothing in an Act of the province, or the rules, orders, regulations or by-laws made under an Act shall prevent or be construed to prevent the use of property within the judicial area, the title to which is vested in the Crown, for the purpose of the Unified Family Court.

1977 c88 s6; 1979 c14 s3

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Jurisdiction of court

6. (1) The Unified Family Court has and may exercise the powers and duties possessed by the Supreme Court in relation to, and has and may exercise exclusive jurisdiction in relation to, proceedings in the following matters taken in the judicial area other than by way of appeal,

(a) formation of marriage;

(b) dissolution and annulment of marriage;

(c) judicial separation and separation orders;

(d) actions and causes concerning matrimonial property including injunctions, partition and settlements;

(e) restitution of conjugal rights;

(f) relief for family dependants on death;

(g) declarations of status including validity of marriage, legitimacy and legitimation;

(h) alimony and maintenance including protection orders for deserted spouses;

(i) maintenance of children including affiliation proceedings and agreements;

(j) enforcement of alimony and maintenance orders including reciprocal enforcements of these orders;

(k) custody and access;

(l) adoption;

(m) charges or proceedings under the Criminal Code or a statute of the province relating to non-support or interspousal assaults, to school attendance, and to neglected children;

(n) charges or proceedings under section 810 of the Criminal Code that are between spouses;

(o) interspousal and familial torts; and

(p) those other matters that are provided by or under an Act to be within the jurisdiction of the Unified Family Court.

(2) The Unified Family Court has the inherent jurisdiction of a superior court to make orders with respect to children.

(3) The jurisdiction of the Unified Family Court may be exercised by a judge of the Unified Family Court.

(4) Paragraph (1)(n) comes into force on a date fixed by proclamation.

(5) The jurisdiction of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court and courts of summary jurisdiction is suspended by this Act in relation to proceedings in which the Unified Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction.

(6) For the purposes of sections 266(b), 740, 810 and 811 of the Criminal Code, the judge of the Unified Family Court has the powers of a provincial court judge under the Criminal Code.

1977 c88 s7; 1978 c35 s24; 1979 c14 s4;
1986 c33 s14; 1986 c42 Sch B

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Judge may transfer case

7. (1) Notwithstanding section 6, the judge of the Unified Family Court may, upon application, order that a proceeding started in the Unified Family Court be transferred to an appropriate court whether inside or outside the judicial area where, in the opinion of the judge, there is a preponderance of convenience for the proceeding to be dealt with by that court.

(2) The provisions of this Act in relation to the procedure of a proceeding transferred to another court under subsection (1) shall apply, with the necessary changes, to that proceeding in the other court.

(3) Where a proceeding that should not have been started in the Unified Family Court is started, the judge of the Unified Family Court may direct the proceeding to be transferred to another court, and steps taken by a party in the proceeding and orders made before the transfer are valid and effectual as if they were made in the court in which the proceeding ought to have been started.

1977 c88 s8; 1986 c33 s14

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Jurisdiction of court may be extended

8. Where a proceeding is started in the Unified Family Court in a matter over which jurisdiction may be exercised in the Unified Family Court and it is combined with a matter within the jurisdiction of a judge of the Supreme Court but over which jurisdiction may not be exercised in the Unified Family Court, the Unified Family Court may, with the consent of the parties, determine and dispose of the combined matters.

1977 c88 s9

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Rules

9. (1) The Rules Committee of the Trial Division as constituted under section 54 of the Judicature Act may make rules of court regulating matters in relation to the practice and procedure of the Unified Family Court.

(2) Notwithstanding section 54 of the Judicature Act, the presiding judge of the Unified Family Court shall be a member for the Rules Committee of the Trial Division for the purpose of making rules under this section.

(3) Rules made under subsection (1) are subordinate legislation for the purposes of the Statute and Subordinate Legislation Act.

(4) Writs, affidavits, notices and other papers and documents issued out of, or used in, the Unified Family Court shall be entitled, "In the Supreme Court of Newfoundland, Unified Family Court".

(5) Causes or matters heard in the Unified Family Court shall be heard and determined without a jury.

1977 c88 s13; 1986 c42 Sch B

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Standing in court

10. (1) Notwithstanding subsection 6(1), proceedings may be started in the Unified Family Court only where the applicant, the respondent or a child involved in the proceedings lives in the judicial area but a proceeding is not required to be started in the judicial area by reason only that a respondent or a child involved in the proceeding, other than an applicant, lives in the judicial area.

(2) Proceedings may be started in the Unified Family Court where the applicant, the respondent or the child involved in the proceedings does not live in the judicial area where the presiding judge of the Unified Family Court and parties to the proceedings so consent.

1978 c35 s24; 1986 c33 s14

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Persons excluded

11. Where the judge is of the opinion

(a) that evidence or information presented to the court would be seriously injurious or seriously prejudicial to

(i) the person who is being dealt with in the proceedings, or

(ii) a person under 16 years of age who is a witness in or is affected by the proceedings; or

(b) that it would be in the best interest of public morals, the maintenance of order or the proper administration of justice to exclude the members of the public from the court room,

the judge may exclude a person other than counsel and witnesses from all or part of the proceedings where the judge considers that person's presence to be unnecessary to the conduct of the proceedings.

1985 c11 s72; 1986 c33 s14

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Investigation

12. (1) Upon application, which may be made without notice to another party, the court may direct a person who

(a) has had no previous connection with the parties to the proceedings; and

(b) is a family counsellor, social worker, probation officer, or other person approved by the court for the purpose,

to make a report on a party to the family matter or other person who, in the opinion of the court, is associated with the family matter.

(2) A person directed to make a report under section (1) shall, in the manner that the court may direct, present the report.

(3) A person shall not present to a court the report made under subsection (1) unless, not less than 24 hours before the report is to be presented, the person serves a copy of the report upon the parties to the proceeding.

1977 c88 s16

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Clerk and staff of court

13. (1) The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may appoint a clerk and there may be appointed according to law other support staff that are necessary for the Unified Family Court.

(2) The clerk of the Unified Family Court

(a) shall perform the duties of the Registrar of the Supreme Court as described by the Judicature Act that are necessary for the proper administration of the Unified Family Court; and

(b) has power to administer oaths or affirmations, take affidavits, issue process, enforce maintenance orders and other powers and authority that are necessary to carry out the duties assigned to the clerk by the court.

1977 c88 s17

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Agreements

14. With the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, the Minister of Justice may enter into agreements with the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada, or other minister of the Crown, acting on behalf of the Crown in right of Canada respecting the payment of the Government of Canada to the government of the province of a portion of the total cost to the province of maintaining the Unified Family Court or respecting an amendment of the agreement.

1977 c88 s18

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Unified Family Court Committee

15. (1) The Unified Family Court Committee is continued for the purpose of monitoring the Unified Family Court and making recommendations to the Attorney-General of the province with respect to the operation and functioning of that court.

(2) The Unified Family Court Committee shall consist of not more than 10 and not less than 5 members appointed by the Minister of Justice with the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council and 5 of those members shall be:

(a) 1 member of the Law Society of Newfoundland;

(b) 1 representative of the Department of Justice;

(c) 1 representative of the Department of Social Services; and

(d) 2 representatives of the public.

1977 c88 s19

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Court order binds Crown

16. The Crown is bound by an order or judgment issued by the Unified Family Court.

1977 c88 s20

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SCHEDULE

ALL THAT AREA contained within the following boundary beginning at a point at the northern entrance to St. John's Harbour; THEN in a generally northerly direction following the shoreline of North East Avalon Peninsula to Cape St. Francis; THEN in a generally southerly direction following the shoreline of the North East Avalon Peninsula to head of South Arm in Holyrood Bay; THEN following the shoreline of South Arm and North Arm in Holyrood Bay to a point on the northern shoreline of North Arm four thousand four hundred (4,400') feet more or less northeast of the head of North Arm, being the point at which the boundary of the Town of Holyrood meets the shoreline of North Arm; THEN following the aforesaid boundary of the Town of Holyrood in an anti-clockwise direction to the southwest tip of Old Sea; THEN North 52 degrees East following the aforesaid boundary of the Town of Holyrood a distance of three thousand (3,000') feet more or less; THEN North 85 degrees East following the aforesaid boundary of the Town of Holyrood a distance of twelve thousand (12,000') feet more or less; THEN in a general easterly direction a distance of twelve thousand (12,000') feet more or less to the northernmost tip of Big Island Pond; THEN in a generally easterly direction following the northern shoreline of Big Island Pond, Daltons Ponds and the stream connecting these ponds with Mobile Big Pond; THEN in a generally easterly direction following the north shore of Mobile Big Pond, Mobile River and Mobile First Pond to the north end of the dam at the eastern end of Mobile First Pond; THEN in a generally easterly direction eleven thousand (11,000') feet more or less to the point at which an abandoned railway track crosses the Bay Bulls Highway; THEN in a generally easterly direction eight thousand (8,000') feet more or less to Ragged Point on the eastern shoreline of the North East Avalon Peninsula; THEN in a generally northerly direction following the eastern shoreline of the North East Avalon Peninsula to the point of beginning. All bearings being referred to the True Meridian. AND ALL THAT AREA known as Bell Island.

1979 c14 s6

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