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Rule refresher should be part of family lawyers' trial prep

While the majority of family law cases do not make it to the trial stage, the importance of knowing the rules of evidence should not be overlooked, Toronto family lawyer Erin Chaiton-Murray tells Law Times.

Mastering the rules is a dying art in the family law bar, where alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are becoming more and more popular, the legal publication reports.

Fewer family lawyers need to know the rules as part of their everyday work, says the article.

Chaiton-Murray, Senior Associate with Fogelman Law, says a refresher on the rules of evidence should be part of any family lawyer’s preparation in the instances where a matter does go to trial.

“Just because they’re not on your radar the whole time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be up to date with them. They’re really essential for doing your job,” she tells Law Times.

The article refers to a recent Ontario Court of Appeal ruling, R v. Quansah, which shed light on a historical decision on the rules of cross examination – Browne v. Dunn.

“Browne refers to a 19th-century decision by the English House of Lords that held that a party intending to impeach an opposing witness must give that person a chance in cross-examination to offer an explanation for any contradictory evidence led later in the trial,” reports Law Times.

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