This article gives an overview of the the Rules of Civil procedure that govern class proceedings aka class actions. It is important to read the rules with the Class Proceedings Act, 1992 (the “Act”) in mind.
Rule 12 of the Rules of Civil Procedure
Rule 12 deals with class proceedings.
Pursuant to rule 12.02, the title of proceeding must include “Proceeding under the Class Proceedings Act, 1992”.
With respect to discovery, under the Act, a party can, with leave, examine a class member in addition to a representative party. The requirements for leave to examine a class member are set out at section 15(3) of the Act instead of the rules. Discovery rights in class proceedings under rule 12.03 treat a class member like a party when it comes to discovery and the reading in of discovery transcripts at trial, however, the sanction of dismissing a claim should a class member not cooperate at an examination is not available.
With respect to costs under rule 12.04, there are rules where a plaintiff or applicant has received funding from The Law Foundation of Ontario’s Class Proceedings Fund. Notice to the Law Foundation of Ontario is required where a defendant or respondent may be entitled to costs and the Foundation has an opportunity to make submissions and is a party for the purposes of an appeal relating to costs. There are no sanctions under rule 49.10 where a defendant’s offer is not accepted.
Judgments and orders in class proceedings must contain certain directions with respect to the distribution of awards, legal fees, costs of the proceeding and the payment of any left to the Law Foundation of Ontario (rule 12.05).
Leave to appeal to Divisional Court, where leave is obtained from Superior Court in accordance with the appeal provisions of section 30 of the Act is to a Judge other than the Judge who made the order (rule 12.06). Other specifics concerning appeals are set out in rule 12.06 and the Act and require close review in the event of an appeal.
In class proceedings against a representative defendant, one or more persons may be entitled to defend pursuant to rule 12.07.
In the event of an unincorporated association or trade union, where proceeding as a class proceeding is unduly expensive or inconvenient, it is possible that one or more people can bring a regular proceeding for the benefit of the membership (rule 12.08).
Other Rules affecting Class Proceedings
Mandatory mediation does not apply to certified class proceedings (rule 24.1.04(2.1).
Dismissal for delay does not apply to certified class proceedings (rule 48.14(1.1)).
The simplified procedure is not available for certified class proceedings (rule 76.01(1)(a)).
Class proceedings are case managed if certified pursuant to section 34 of the Act and rule 77.02(3).
More Information on Class Actions
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