What is the test for exhaustive disclosure in a family law case?

Ontario, Canada

The following excerpt is from Atis v. Atis, 2019 ONSC 7553 (CanLII):

Although full and frank disclosure is a necessary component of family law litigation, exhaustive disclosure may not always be appropriate. Courts and parties should consider the burden that disclosure requests bring on the disclosing party, the relevance of the requested disclosure to the issues at hand, and the costs and time to obtain the disclosure compared to its importance: see Chernyakhovsky v. Chernyakhovsky, 137 A.C.W.S. (3d) 988 (ONSC) at paras. 8 and 15. Disclosure orders must be fair to both parties and appropriate to the case.

As Perell J. held in Boyd v. Fields, [2007] W.D.F.L. 2449 (ONSC) at paras. 12-14: Full and frank disclosure is a fundamental tenet of the Family Law Rules. However, there is also an element of proportionality, common sense, and fairness built into these rules. A party’s understandable aspiration for the utmost disclosure is not the standard. Fairness and some degree of genuine relevance, which is the ability of the evidence to contribute to the fact-finding process are factors. I also observe that just as non-disclosure can be harmful to a fair trial, so can excessive disclosure be harmful because it can confuse, mislead or distract the trier of fact’s attention from the main issues and unduly occupy the trier of fact’s time and ultimately impair a fair trial.

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