Developments in Family Law: The 1998-1999 Term

Supreme Court Law Review. Vol. 11, p. 433, 2000

25 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2008

See all articles by Brenda Cossman

Brenda Cossman

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law


In the 1998-99 Term, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down seven family law decisions. The most important family law decisions issued by the Court in the 1998-99 Term were in relation to family support obligations. In the cases of Chartier, Bracklow and M. v. H., the Court expanded the scope and content of support obligations, each with a heavy emphasis on the privatization of support obligations. M. v. H., which struck down the opposite sex definition of spouse for the purposes of spousal support, has perhaps the most far-reaching implications for family law. While the Court tried to limit its ruling to the specific provisions of the Ontario Family Law Act, the case raises many questions about the definition of spouse in Canadian family law, and the extent to which the law will be able to maintain distinctions between married and unmarried couples, and between heterosexual and same-sex couples. Other trends in this term's rulings include an emphasis on the fact drive and discretionary nature of family law proceedings, and the importance of appellate court deference to the findings of trial courts.Please enter abstract text here.

Suggested Citation

Cossman, Brenda, Developments in Family Law: The 1998-1999 Term. Available at SSRN:

Brenda Cossman (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
416-978-6658 (Phone)

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