Walsh Family Law Moot & Negotiation Competition

The Honourable George Tucker Walsh was a Pioneer in the Growth and Development of Family Law in Ontario

A pioneer in the growth and development of family law in Ontario, Justice Walsh passed away on December 28, 2017, at the age of 92.

The following article borrows from his obituary in The Globe and Mail“Justice Walsh graduated from Victoria College, University of Toronto with a BA, and from Osgoode Hall Law School with an LLB. Justice Walsh was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1950 and practiced law with his father, until the latter was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario in 1958. Justice Walsh was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1960 and continued to practice law, with an emphasis on family law.”

In 1978, Justice Walsh was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario where he was immediately put in charge of the Family Law Division. At the time, spousal support was still called alimony and a woman’s entitlement to support depended on English law as it existed before Confederation. All divorces had to be heard in court and trials lasted weeks. There was an enormous backlog of cases waiting to be heard.

Justice Walsh, together with Justice Gertrude Speigel, was at the forefront of the work to simplify, expedite, and humanize family law. Gowns largely disappeared, and litigants, lawyers, and judges met informally. Discussions, offers, and settlement began to occur more frequently as family law belatedly entered the 20th Century.

Known as the ‘dean’ of the family law Bar, Justice Walsh’s philosophy was: resolution where possible; if not, timely adjudication. His objective was to reduce the cost of resolving family differences and issues, including the direct cost to the litigant and the indirect cost to the taxpayer, all of which had to be done without in any way reducing the quality or caliber of justice and the availability and timeliness of justice in the community. In his honour, the country’s first family law moot competition, the Walsh Family Law Moot, was held in Toronto in 2013 and it continues to be held annually with attendance growing every year.

As written in The Law Times, “It is only fitting that the moot is named after former Justice George Walsh, a pioneer in family law. Walsh was the leader of the family law division of the Toronto region’s Superior Court of Justice and very involved in family law reform and alternative dispute resolution. He developed a team approach to adjudicating family law cases that was the envy of every other jurisdiction. For example, he was a pioneer in early case management. He also helped establish the first mediation service at the Superior Court of Justice. It is only apt, then, that the establishment of a moot to try to encourage law students to choose family law would acknowledge Walsh’s work.”

The Walsh Family Law Moot and Negotiation Competition is named to recognize the outstanding contribution made by Justice Walsh to the development of family law in the province of Ontario.

The Negotiation Competition, initiated by the Superior Court of Justice, was added in 2015. The two competitions came together under the auspices of the AFCC-O in 2016. The AFCC-O is proud to host this annual event in honour of the late Justice George Walsh’s legacy.

Provided by: Justice Philip Clay, OCJ, AFCC-O Board Member

The Walsh Family Law Moot:

Co-Chairs: Steven Benmor and Justice Philip Clay

Committee Members: Kathy Batycky, Erin Crawford, Sina Hariri,  Jaclyn Mackenzie, Tanya Road, Golnaz Simaie, and Clayton Spencer

The Walsh Family Law Moot is a competitive moot for 2nd and 3rd year law students. The moot will require a factum with a page limit of 20 pages.

Judges: The moots will be judged by various members of the judiciary including Court of Appeal, Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice judges, as well as senior family law practitioners.

Prizes: Awards and recognition will be given to the school with the highest cumulative points for both facta and oral arguments, and second highest cumulative score and oralist score.  Awards will also be presented for the best written appellant and respondent team facta.  Participating law schools and winning teams are recognized in the AFCC-O newsletters and on our website.  Winning team participants are also listed on our website.

There is no charge to law school participants.

If you are interested in participating in our Appellate Moot, please download our Walsh Family Law Moot Rules and Regulations:

Walsh Family Law Moot Details & Rules

Walsh Family Law Negotiation Competition:

Co-Chairs: Elizabeth Hyde, Tami Moscoe, and Jennifer Suzor

Committee Members:  Brian Burke, Faith Feldman, Susan Jack, Justice  Jennifer MacKinnon, Justice Heather McGee, Mary-Anne Popescu, Justice Gerri Wong,  and Michael Zalev.

The Walsh Family Negotiation Competition is a competition for 2nd and 3rd year law students. Working in teams of two, using facts for each partner in a family law dispute, the law students will negotiate with opposing teams in three successive rounds of increasing complexity.

Judges: The moots will be judged by various members of the judiciary including Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice judges, as well as senior family law practitioners, in teams of three.

Prizes:
 Awards and recognition will be given to the teams for:

  1. Best Negotiation Plans
  2. Best Overall Negotiation Teams
  3. Best Individual Students

Participating law schools and winning teams are recognized in the AFCC-O newsletters and on our website. Winning team participants are also listed on our website.

There is no charge to law school participants.  Limited stipends may be available to registrants from schools outside of Toronto.

If you are interested in participating in the Walsh Family Law Negotiation Competition, please download further Information and Rules:

Walsh Negotiation Competition Details & Rules

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2018 SPONSORS!

Opening Reception Cocktail Party Host - Epstein Cole LLP; Breakfast Host - Barriston LLP; Luncheon Co-Hosts - DivorceMate & My Support Calculator

Gold Level Sponsors:

Silver Level Sponsors:

Bronze Level Sponsors:

The 2018 Walsh Family Law Events:

On March 10, 2018, the Annual Walsh Family Law Moot & Negotiation Competition took place, under the guidance of Chairs Justice Philip Clay and Steven Benmor (Moot Competition) and Elizabeth Hyde, Tami Moscoe and Jennifer Suzor (Negotiation Competition).

While the Family Law Moot allowed law students to practise their advocacy skills in an appellate context, the Negotiation Competition allowed them to apply their dispute resolution skills to a realistic and compelling parenting dispute. This was the second year that the two competitions were brought together, and it allowed participants to experience the full spectrum of services provided to family law litigants in one fabulous weekend!

FOR THE WALSH FAMILY LAW MOOT COMPETITION:

Students from six Ontario law schools prepared facta and argued the appeal of an interesting family law case. Teams from Osgoode Hall, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, Western University, and the University of Windsor competed. Awards were presented as follows:

Best Written Appellant Factum
James Schneider and Jackson Foreman (University of Toronto)

Best Written Respondent Factum
Aurora Lu and Jennifer Herpers (Queen’s University)

Highest Cumulative Points Oral Argument
Alexis Giannelia (University of Toronto)

2nd Highest Cumulative Points – Oral Argument
Douglas Montgomery (Osgoode Hall Law School)

Highest Cumulative Points – Overall
Julia Flood, Bonnie Greenaway, Julia McArthur and Douglas Montgomery (Osgoode Hall Law School )

2nd Highest Cumulative Points Overall
Jennifer Eensild, Andie Hunter, Jessica Laurenza and Nikki Dehnashi (University of Windsor)

FOR THE WALSH FAMILY LAW NEGOTIATION COMPETITION:

Teams from Osgoode Hall, University of Calgary, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, Queen’s University, Western University, University of Saskatchewan and the University of Windsor competed.  Awards were presented as follows:

Top Students: 
First Place – Marni MacKay (University of Calgary)
Second Place – Samah Rahman (University of Ottawa)
Third Place – Rachel Venturo (University of Ottawa) and Ceilidh Mulder (Queen’s University)

Top Teams:
First Place – Marni MacKay and Elisa Stewart (University of Calgary)
Second Place – Domenica Moran and Ceilidh Mulder (Queen’s University)
Third Place – Jacob Schlosser and Rebecca Suggit (Queen’s University)

Best Negotiation Plan:
Mimi Chen and Harvey Lim (University of Toronto)

The AFCC-O Offers Complimentary Student Membership to Participants:

To recognize and thank the law students for their participation in the competitions, the AFCC-O is pleased to offer free AFCC-O memberships for all the students involved, helping our next generation of family law lawyers.

The AFCC-O wants to thank our AFCC-O members and other supporters who agreed to participate in, or sponsor, these important events. The Walsh Family Law Moot & Negotiation Competition remains an exciting collaborative opportunity between the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, law schools, legal academics, family lawyers, family justice partners and the AFCC-O.

Sponsoring The Walsh Family Law Moot & Negotiation Competition:

Sponsorship opportunities are available to assist with travelling costs for students and their professors, the costs associated with renting Osgoode Hall, breakfast for all participants including the volunteers and an awards luncheon for all participants including the volunteers, amongst other associated costs.

Please download the below Sponsorship Flyer for information on levels of sponsorship and amounts.

AFCC-O Walsh Event Sponsorship Form

If you are interested in sponsoring the 2019 Walsh Family Law Moot and the Negotiation Competition, please contact Jennifer Suzor at: jsuzor@familylawspecialist.ca