Big Wave of Trials Could Swamp Ontario’s Civil Trial Courts

A big wave of civil trials has begun rolling into Ontario, propelled by changes to the rules concerning dismissal for delay.  We’re positioning our surfboard at the moment and we’ll be surfing that wave!

According to statistics from the Ministry of the Attorney General, the number of matters set down for trial in Superior Court has steadily risen from 5,588 in 2010 to 8,935 in 2015.

Permitting a file to be dismissed for delay is negligent and a huge concern for LawPRO, which has released very helpful rule 48 resources.

January 1, 2017 marks a significant date for rule 48 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.  On that day, all cases commenced prior to January 1, 2012 will be automatically dismissed without notice unless they have been set down for trial.

Similarly, in Small Claims Court, Rule 11.1 will involve dismissals of claims after 2 years or on September 1, 2017, whichever is later.

2016 in civil litigation will stir up a lot of activity on dormant files, with plaintiff lawyers and paralegals setting cases down for trial and some defendants laying in the weeds with fingers crossed that their case will silently go away.

The big wave will continue to grow through 2016 and 2017 and crest spectacularly in 2018 as cases set down for trial hit the Courts.


This article is courtesy of the Ontario Civil Trial Manual

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