Civil and Commercial Trial Counsel

To Be Spoken To Court in Toronto – the unwritten rules

This post outlines what you need to know about To Be Spoken To (TBST) Court in Toronto for civil matters.

The main reason to attend is for trial scheduling, which is required for trials longer than 10 days.

Trial Certification Form

When a civil matter is set down for trial, the Trial Coordinator will send out a Certification Form to Set Pre-Trial and Trial Dates (aka a trial certification form) to the party who set the matter down for trial.  It generally takes 2-3 months from setting the matter down to receive the trial certification form.

The trial certification form provides information to the Trial Coordinator to determine dates for pre-trial and trial, the length of pre-trial and trial (including the number of witnesses and estimated time for examinations), and also provides a deadline by which the matter will be struck off the trial list.

If the trial is less than 10 days and the trial certification form is completed and returned on time, a trial date will be set first, followed by a pre-trial conference date approximately 2 months before trial.

If the trial will take more than 10 days or the parties can’t agree to complete the trial certification form together, one of them must initiate To Be Spoken To Court.

Scheduling To Be Spoken To Court

To get into To Be Spoken To Court in Toronto, the unwritten procedure is as follows:

  1. In Toronto, TBST Court appearances are held on Mondays at 9:30 am for trials 10 days or less and Wednesdays at 9:30 am for trials longer than 10 days.  Usually in Courtroom 801 or 802 on the 8th floor of 393 University Ave.
  2. Contact the appropriate Trial Coordinator (short: trials up to 10 days in length or long: longer than 10 days) and inform them of your intention to attend TBST and to check on available dates.  The Trial Coordinator’s email is mag.csd.trials@ontario.ca
  3. Clear the date with all other parties; and
  4. Confirm with the Trial Coordinator the date, time, location and Courtroom, copying the other parties.  Attach a copy of the trial certification form.

 

What to Expect at To Be Spoke To Court

Gowns are no longer required.

The lawyer attending TBST Court must be familiar with the case to the point that they are able to complete the trial certification form and work out a timetable if necessary.  Furthermore, the lawyer must have access to the trial lawyer’s calendar for scheduling both the trial and pre-trial conference.

The process at Court is to arrive early, get an available trial date (generally 1 year out for trials 6-10 days long and 2 years out for trials over 10 days), complete a Timetable for Service of Expert Reports, when the matter is called give the Judge a brief summary of what the case is about and what the agreed upon trial start date is, if approved, a pre-trial date will be set while address ing the Judge and an endorsement will be signed confirming the trial and pre-trial dates and attaching the Timetable for Service of Expert Reports.

Timetable for Service of Expert Reports

Issues with experts arising at pre-trial conferences have prompted the Court to reduce the deadlines in the Rules of Civil Procedure to a Court order made at TBST Court.  In fact, rule 53.03(2.2) requires parties to agree on a timetable for expert reports within 60 days of setting a matter down for trial.

Pursuant to rule 53.03(1), plaintiff expert reports are due 90 days before pre-trial conference conference, defendant expert reports are due 60 days before the pre-trial conference.  Pursuant to rule 53.03(3)(b), supplementary reports are due at least 30 days before trial.  These deadlines can inform the timetable for service of expert reports.  The agreement on all deadlines could simply be “Pursuant to the Rules” unless the Judge wants a specific date, which can be inserted based on the rules.

For More Information

If you have any questions about To Be Spoken To Court, please call Mick Hassell at (416) 944-2274 or email mhassell@trialcounsel.ca

And if you need assistance with any trial, take a look at our trial counsel services for law firms

 

 

 

Hassell Trial Counsel
111 Greensides Ave
Toronto, Ontario M6G 3P8


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