These numbers will be of interest to commercial litigators in Ontario and across Canada.
What are the top 10 areas for business disputes? Which business disputes go to trial?
In 2014, 66,783 claims were issued in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (excluding Small Claims Court), 31,710 of which were business disputes falling within the 10 most common areas of business disputes. That’s 47.48% of all claims.
23,007 were issued under the ordinary procedure (claims over $100,000) and 8,703 were issued under the simplified procedure (claims between $25,000 and $100,000).
The breakdown of the top 10 areas for business dispute claims issued is as follows:
- Mortgage enforcement – 8,754 (27.61% of business disputes)
- Collection of liquidated debt – 7,891 (24.88%)
- Breach of contract – 6,681 (21.07%)
- Construction lien – 2,704 (8.53%)
- Tort: economic injury – 2,498 (7.88%)
- Real estate – 1,771 (5.58%)
- Construction law (excluding liens) – 571 (1.80%)
- Professional malpractice (excluding medical) – 543 (1.71%)
- Personal property security – 194 (0.61%)
- Partnership – 103 (0.32%)
Of the top 10 areas for business disputes, the following proceeded to trial last year:
- Breach of contract trials – 321 (41.00% of business dispute trials)
- Collection of liquidated debt trials – 139 (17.75%)
- Tort: economic injury trials – 87 (11.11%)
- Construction lien trials – 74 (9.45%)
- Real estate trials – 74 (9.45%)
- Construction law trials (excluding lien trials) – 29 (3.70%)
- Professional malpractice trials (excluding medical) – 27 (3.45%)
- Mortgage enforcement trials – 25 (3.19%)
- Partnership trials – 5 (0.64%)
- Personal property security trials – 2 (0.26%)
From the Numbers
Breach of contract, debt collection, construction, real estate and economic injury claims dominate business litigation in terms of claims issued and proceedings at trial. Mortgage enforcement is huge in terms of claims issued, but summary judgments wipe out virtually all trial prospects.
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