If you conduct personal injury trials in Toronto and surrounding communities, the Toronto Sittings Project is of great interest.
Announced May 15, 2017, Toronto is experimenting with personal injury trial sittings for the fall 2017 and spring 2018. All 2-3 week personal injury trials are being reshuffled to 4 week long trial sittings starting November 27, 2017 and June 4, 2018.
One challenge for trial lawyers is that Toronto’s fall trial sittings overlap with trial sittings in surrounding jurisdictions. Even if a trial lawyer committed their schedule to 2 Toronto trials and 1 out of town trial in separate timeframes for the fall 2017, all 3 trials may suddenly overlap. While the Toronto Court will likely be accommodating of trial counsel’s schedule, this will be quite a juggle.
In addition to juggling trials, there will be even more juggling of witnesses. Try informing 15+ doctors that you need them all to be on call during a 4 week trial sittings during which at best you’ll be able to give them a few days notice that you’ll be calling them to testify.
Personal injury trials make of 60% of Superior Court trials and are on the rise. Personal injury trials were selected for the Toronto trial sittings project due to a high settlement rate. The goal is to reduce wait times for trial dates. This is a terrific goal. The trial sittings project will speed up the time to get to a trial date and trigger more settlements, mainly due to how challenging it will now be to conduct personal injury trials in Toronto.
Due to its anticipated success, although there will be some transition pains, trial sittings will likely become the norm for personal injury trials in Toronto. It may also become the norm for trials in other areas of law.
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