Ontario Superior Court of Justice Practice Advisory re: Civil Case Management Pilot – One Judge Model
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Civil Case Management Pilot – One Judge Model is effective February 1, 2019.
Features under the pilot include:
- A judge assigned to case manage an action will preside over all pre-trial hearings and the trial exclusive of case conferences dedicated solely to settlement discussions;
- No formal interlocutory motions without the approval of the case management judge; and
- The trial date will be set at a relatively early stage of the proceeding by the case management judge along with a schedule for completing necessary steps prior to trial.
Actions proceeding under the simplified procedure are not eligible for the pilot.
Inclusion in the pilot is at the discretion of the Regional Senior Judge or their designate in consideration of a variety of factors which are particularized at the following link: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/civil-case-management-pilot/
The expected duration of the pilot is two years. With the consent of all parties an application form shall be completed to apply to participate in the pilot. An application form may be downloaded from a link at the above webpage.
TSDC Remote Defence Access Project
The Ministries of Attorney General (MAG) and Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) have been working collaboratively to develop and undertake video projects including adopting remote video access for counsel, courts and correctional institutions as part of a modernization effort.
The Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) Criminal Justice Modernization Committee is cochaired by Chief Justice Maisonneuve and Deputy Attorney General, and includes MAG, Corrections, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Legal Aid Ontario, and the Criminal Lawyers' Association. This committee has endorsed one such video project - the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) Remote Defence Access (RDA) Project.
This initiative will benefit in-custody accused persons in the Toronto region, their counsel, courts and staff at TSDC. The TSDC RDA Project will benefit TLA members by:
- increasing off-site opportunities to consult with TSDC clients using video conferencing, in turn improving access to justice and outcomes for people engaged in the justice sector;
- enabling counsel to share disclosure and other legal documents with their clients remotely via a video link and web cam from their personal computers;
- reducing lengthy counsel commute times to and from the TSDC facility; and
- providing a means for counsel to consult with clients during institutional lockdowns (a time when typically, many counsel are turned away from the institution due to emergencies or other unanticipated incidents).
Notice to the Profession re Motion Scheduling Form
Superior Court of Justice - Central West Region
As this court at Brampton and Milton have the benefit of Masters sitting on both civil pre-trials and civil motions, in order to ensure that motions, within the jurisdiction of the Masters, are properly scheduled before them, when scheduling of motions generally allowed for that, effective September 1, 2018, all counsel and self-represented parties must complete the Motion Scheduling Form set out below at the time the moving party's motion materials are filed with the court.
Motions that are within the jurisdiction of a Master will be scheduled accordingly, whenever possible depending on the available judicial resources and other scheduling considerations.
Expansion of the civil claims online filing service on May 28, 2018
The civil claims online filing service has been expanded to enable the online filing of additional documents in a civil proceeding in the Superior Court of Justice. This expansion follows the successful province-wide launch of the service in November 2017.
As of May 28, 2018, it will be possible to file the following documents online through the civil claims online portal:
- Statement of Defence (Form 18A)
- Notice of Intent to Defend (Form 18B)
- Statement of Claim filed following the issuance of a Notice of Action (Form 14D)
- Proof of Service of documents that are filed online
- Orders and Consents that are required in support of the filing of a document online
The online filing of these documents with the Superior Court of Justice has been authorized by subrule 4.05.1(2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The rules also clarify that it will not be necessary to provide the court with a paper copy of a document that was filed online unless the matter is proceeding to a hearing or conference and the party intends to rely on the document at the hearing (rule 4.05.1(6), in force May 28, 2018).
Amendments to Family Law Rules (O. Reg. 114/99)
Effective April 23, 30 and July 1, 2018
On April 23, 2018, rule changes will come into effect to support the Ministry of the Attorney General’s e-filing service for joint divorce applications.
On April 30, 2018, multiple rule and form changes to support the new Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 14 (including, but not limited to, changes to rules 8, 17, 25, 33 and 34, as well as 35 court forms) will come into effect on the same date as the new legislation is proclaimed.
On July 1, 2018, the rules and timelines relating to service, filing and confirmations for conferences and motions will also change. There are new confirmation forms for both motions and conferences.
Also on July 1, 2018, updated rules relating to costs (specifically sub-rules 17(18), 17(18.1) and 24(10) - 24(12.1)) will come into effect.
Changes to Filing Court Documents - SCJ, Toronto Civil Long Motions (over 2 hours) Before a Judge
The Court Services Division, Ministry of the Attorney General, together with the Superior Court of Justice, is launching a pilot project to advance the modernization of filing court documents in the Toronto Region.
As of Tuesday, April 3, 2018, parties in civil matters before judges at 393 University Avenue will be required to file long motion materials electronically on a USB stick. Parties will also be required to file paper copies of their long motion materials as required by the Rules of Civil Procedure. The pilot does not apply to long motions before masters.
Parties are required to name each document saved on the USB using the naming convention outlined in the Superior Court of Justice Practice Advisory Concerning Civil Long Motions in the Toronto Region. Information on the new practice advisory is available on the Ontario Courts website. Feedback may be directed to:
Beverly Leonard, Director of Court Operations
Toronto Region and the Court of Appeal for Ontario
Tel: 416-326- 4250
Toronto Sittings Project Now Permanent
The Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Region has decided to continue the Toronto Jury sittings project on a permanent basis for all Motor vehicle/ personal injury jury actions (excluding medical malpractice) that are 2-3 weeks (6-15 days) in length.
There are two sittings in the current sittings project-The Fall 2017 Sittings (November 27,2017 to December 22,2017) which have been completed) and the upcoming 2018 Spring Sittings (June 4, 2018-June 29,2018). All cases which fall under this category of cases with prior fixed dates between January to June 2018 were automatically moved in to the upcoming 2018 Spring sittings.
The new Fall 2018 Sittings will be held Tuesday, October 9, 2018 to Friday November 2, 2018. The new Spring 2019 Sittings will be held Monday, June 3, 2019 to Friday June 28 ,2019.These new Fall and Spring sittings will continue on a yearly basis at the same time period.
For both Short and Long trials cases with previously scheduled trial dates between September 2018 to December 2018 that fall under this category of cases will automatically be moved into the October Fall 2018 jury settings (October 9,-November 2 ). Counsel will receive Notice from the Court advising that their case has been moved into the Fall 2018 sittings List. Cases longer than 10 days (11-15 days) with previously assigned trial dates between January to June 2019 will be moved into the June 2019 (June 3-June 28) Spring Sittings. Cases longer than 10 days with previously assigned trial dates between September 2019 and December 2019 will automatically be moved into the October 2019 jury sittings.
Province-wide Launch of the Civil Claims Online Filing Service
The Ministry of the Attorney General has announced that civil claims online filing (http://ontario.ca/civilclaims) will be available across Ontario as of November 27, 2017, following a successful pilot of the service earlier this year for actions in the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton, London, Newmarket, Ottawa, Sudbury and Toronto. Users of the service have expressed a high level of satisfaction with the service, describing the service as “fast,” “useful,” and of “high quality/reliable” and indicating that they would recommend the service. Read the full announcement.
This new online service builds on the success of the small claims court online filing service. The civil claims service enables you to start a civil action online in the Superior Court of Justice — 24/7 — without visiting a courthouse. To assist lawyers, MAG has issued a Guide to creating a Justice Services Online account.
With this service, users can submit the following documents for filing with the Superior Court of Justice online:
- Statement of Claim
- Notice of Action
- Affidavit of Litigation Guardian of a Plaintiff under a Disability
- Request for Bilingual Proceedings
- Consent to File Documents in French.
The service allows lawyers to file a claim online easily. Lawyers don’t have to fill out the same identifying information every time they submit a claim for filing. The service also allows:
- online payment of court fees by credit card or Interac;
- delivery of a court-issued Statement of Claim or Notice of Action by email;
- draft submissions to be saved and submitted at a later time; and
- online transactions to be tracked (online access to a history of a user’s submissions, draft submissions and online fee payments).
As the Ministry continues to expand this service, users will be able to file additional documents online. For more information, please visit ontario.ca/civilclaims.
The Toronto Sittings Project
An important update for Personal Injury and Insurance Defence Litigators
In the recent notice concerning the Toronto Sittings Project it was indicated that the dates selected for the sittings were done on the basis that they do not conflict with trial sittings in Central East or Central West. There are no conflicts with Central West, nor are there conflicts with Central East with respect to the June, 2018 sittings. It has been determined, however, that there is a two week overlap with respect to the November 2017 sittings with Central East. Namely, the weeks of November 27 and December 4. Inquiries have been made of the Civil Team in Toronto. We have been advised that, if there is a legitimate conflict between cases called in Central East and Toronto, counsel can make submissions during the sittings and time will be set aside in Toronto, in early 2018, to ensure that the cases can be reached.
Commencing in the fall of 2017 in the Toronto Region, all two to three week personal injury jury cases (excluding medical malpractice actions) will only be scheduled for month-long jury trial sittings. All such cases with fixed trial dates will automatically be moved into the trial sittings.
The sittings will take place two times per year: November and June.
In 2017, the four week sittings will commence on November 27. In 2018, the four week sittings will commence on June 4. Further trial sittings for the fall of 2018 and beyond will be considered depending upon the success of this project.
These months have been chosen because they do not conflict with sittings in Central West and Central East. The sittings are designed to reduce the times out to trials in Toronto. Two to three week personal injury cases have been chosen for this project because most two to three week jury trials involve personal injury matters and they have a very high settlement rate. During the sittings, several courtrooms will be available. Given historic settlement rates it is anticipated that all scheduled cases that do not settle will be reached during the sittings.
All two to three week jury trials that are currently scheduled for September-December 2017 will be moved into the November sittings. Similarly, all two to three week jury trials presently scheduled for January-June 2018 will be moved into the June sittings. Pre-trials that have already been scheduled for these cases in 2017/2018 will remain as scheduled. There will also be a pre-trial blitz prior to each sitting.
The Toronto trial office will soon be in touch with the lawyers involved in the affected two to three week personal injury jury trials to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
Any questions concerning the sittings can be directed to the project coordinator Theodora Apostolopoulos.
Alternatively, you can direct them to Margaret Waddell, who is the TLA's representative on the Toronto Civil Bench and Bar Committee.
Notice to the profession regarding the implementation of reforms to Rule 48.14 (Dismissal for Delay)
As the bar will be aware, a number of changes were made to Rule 48.14 of the Rules of Civil Procedure (Dismissal of Action for Delay) in 2015. This notice is being sent as a courtesy reminder to the profession because automatic dismissal orders under the new rule will be generated beginning January 1, 2017. Read the full notice from the Ministry of the Attorney General here.
Increased Court Fees coming effective July 1, 2016
The TLA has been informed by the Ministry of the Attorney General that it plans to introduce new court fees effective July 1, 2016. The plan is to increase fees by, on average, 36%. Over the past 10 years, the cost of operating the courts has increased by more than 40 per cent, while most court fees have stayed the same.
The Ministry of the Attorney General advises that the fee increase is necessary to sustain quality of services over the long term, and is meant to provide some of the necessary funds required to modernize our justice system through investing in programs and services that make our courts more modern and responsive to the people they serve.
As a result, effective July 1, 2016, the Ministry of the Attorney General is proposing the following regulatory changes:
increasing civil, small claims and family court fees based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index;
introducing new family fees for custody, access and support cases in both the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice; and
aligning fee amounts for similar types of transactions in different business lines to make fees easier to understand and administer, and provide greater consistency in fees across practice areas.
The TLA is pleased that the Ministry of the Attorney General has identified that the Ontario civil justice system is in dire need of modernization, including improved programming and services. It will be seeking assurances from the Ministry that the revenue from these increased fees is used for these intended purposes.