New Brunswick

Divorce wait times 'untenable,' lawyer says

A Moncton lawyer says New Brunswick couples going through a divorce are waiting too long for their day in court and a pilot project in Saint John aimed at speeding up proceedings should be expanded.

Sheila Cameron says a pilot project in Saint John aimed at speeding up proceedings should be expanded

A Moncton lawyer is calling on the New Brunswick government to expand a family court pilot project in Saint John to the rest of the province.

Shelia Cameron, a family court lawyer with Actus Law, says couples going through divorce or separation are waiting too long for their day in court.

Some couples are facing court backlogs of six to eight months, she told CBC News.

Cameron has written a letter to the Justice minister, calling the situation "untenable."

"Not only financially, because it's a huge cost to be stuck in the legal system for that long and paying lawyer's fees. but the emotional cost, the cost to children, the health costs. And these conflicts can last for years," she said.

Cameron says Saint John pilot project, aimed at speeding up proceedings and making family law less adversarial, is working and should be available province-wide.

"There's not enough resources in the front end of the system in New Brunswick, that's absolutely the case, except for Saint John, because Saint John today has a system that's different from the rest of the province," she said.

"You can't do this. You can't give people access to justice in one judicial district in New Brunswick that is not given to everybody else in the province."

Cameron, who was part of a task force five years ago that raised concerns about court backlogs, says the situation is even worse now and needs to be addressed.


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