SUPERSEDED Notice to Profession – Central East Region – Civil

IMPORTANT NOTICE

This notice has been superseded. Please refer to:  http://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/#REGIONAL_NOTICES for current information.

PROTOCOL FOR CIVIL MATTERS IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE

Amended April 14, 2020

Introduction

This Protocol applies to civil matters in the Superior Court of Justice in the Central East Region, until further notice.

The Protocol is subject to change from time to time as may be necessary.

Civil Matters Adjourned

On March 15, 2020, all civil proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice that were scheduled to proceed between March 16 and June 1, 2020, were adjourned by Order of Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz.  See, Notice to the Profession regarding Civil and Family Proceedings, posted on the website of the Superior Court of Justice (“the Notice”).

This Protocol addresses matters additional to the urgent and emergency matters referenced in the Notice.

Judicial Pre-Trials

Commencing the week of April 6, 2020, designated judges will be assigned to conduct civil pre-trials on re-booked dates, for those cases where pre-trials were previously scheduled to proceed between March 16 and June 1, 2020.  These re-booked pre-trials will be limited to the issue of settlement of the action.

Civil pre-trials will be available only in cases where all parties are represented by counsel.

The availability of civil pre-trial judges will be subject to their need to hear other urgent matters, which may necessitate the adjournment of the pre-trial to another date. Such an adjournment may occur on very short notice.

The objective of the pre-trial will be settlement of the action.  Counsel must certify at the beginning of their pre-trial memo that they have spoken with their client(s) and confirmed with all other counsel that the case is capable of settlement with the assistance of a pre-trial judge.  In the absence of such certification by ALL counsel, a request to schedule a pre-trial will be denied.

Pre-trials will not be scheduled or conducted for the purpose of any form of trial management.

Procedure for Booking a Judicial Pre-Trial

It will be the responsibility of counsel with carriage of the file to initiate a request for a pre-trial in accordance with this Protocol.  The Court will not initiate scheduling of a pre-trial in the absence of a joint request from ALL counsel.

A request for a pre-trial on an action commenced at any location in the Central East Region shall be made to Ms. Arzu Kaya at the following email address: arzu.kaya@ontario.ca (“the pre-trial email address”). Counsel may use this email address only for communications related to the request for and scheduling of a pre-trial.  Counsel requesting a pre-trial must indicate the style of cause and court file number of the case;  the court center where the action was commenced;  the date and location of the pre-trial that was previously scheduled;  and that counsel have communicated with one another and all are in agreement that the action is capable of settlement with the assistance of a pre-trial judge.

Pre-Trial Memos

Pre-trial memos may not exceed 15 pages.  Any additional documents that counsel wish the pre-trial judge to review must be hyperlinked or made available by “Drop Box” or some other means that does not require sending by email.

Pre-trial memos must be delivered to the pre-trial email address no later than 12 noon on the Friday preceding the scheduled pre-trial.

Pre-trial memos that do not adhere to these requirements will not be accepted by the Court.

The Pre-Trial

Pre-trials will be held remotely by video or teleconference.   The responsibility for arranging the necessary technology is that of counsel who requested the pre-trial.  The Court will not make the remote connection arrangements.

The remote connection information for the pre-trial must be provided to the Court through the pre-trial email address by 12 noon on the Friday preceding the scheduled pre- trial.

The only individuals who may be present for the pre-trial are counsel who have carriage of the file and the pre-trial judge.

No recording may be made of the pre-trial by any participant.

The pre-trial judge may wish to speak separately with counsel (caucus) and/or speak with counsel and their client.  Counsel must ensure the ability of the pre-trial judge to do so.

Counsel are required to have their clients available so that immediate instructions can be sought about proposed terms of settlement.  Counsel retained by a corporation such as an insurance company must certify to the presiding judge at the beginning of the pre-trial that they have available a representative of the corporation with the authority to settle.

At the conclusion of the pre-trial, if counsel require an Order (such as an Order dismissing the action), a draft Order can be provided through the pre-trial email address for forwarding to the pre-trial judge for electronic signature.

Rule 7 Motions (Court Approval for Settlements Involving Infants and Parties Under Disability)

Where judicial approval is required of a settlement involving an infant or other party under disability AND where there is urgency to ensure that funds can be accessed for the infant or party under disability, counsel may bring a motion in writing.

Until further notice, these motions should be submitted to the Court through the following generic email addresses:

Barrie   Barrie.SCJ.courts@ontario.ca
Bracebridge   Bracebridge.courts@ontario.ca
Cobourg   Cobourg.court@ontario.ca
Durham (Oshawa)   Durham.SCJ.courts@ontario.ca
Lindsay   Lindsay.courts@ontario.ca
Newmarket   Newmarket.SCJ.courts@ontario.ca
Peterborough   Peterborough.SCJ.courts@ontario.ca

The materials must comply with the requirements of Rule 7, except that any exhibits that would normally be attached to the affidavit filed in support of the motion should be hyperlinked or made available by “Drop Box” or some other means that does not require sending by email. The Court is unable to accept materials that are split into multiple emails.

Counsel shall submit with their motion material a draft Judgment for electronic signature.

Civil Motions on Consent

The Court will hear, in writing, motions that are on consent, meaning where a party to an action or an Application has served a Notice of Motion and the responding party is consenting to an Order granting the relief sought.

All consent motion materials must be filed by sending them electronically to the generic email addresses set out above under the heading Rule 7 Motions.

The motion materials filed electronically must include: a Notice of Motion, an affidavit or affidavits in support, a Consent signed on behalf of all parties, email addresses for all parties, a draft Order approved as to form and content by all parties, and a clean draft Order for judicial signature.  The draft Order must be in Word format.

The moving party must also provide a written Undertaking that an original copy of the motion materials with proof of service and any fee payable will be filed with the Court filing office in the applicable location, within 45 days of the resumption of regular court operations.

If the motion materials filed electronically are duplicates of a “basket motion” previously filed with the Court in hard copy, the moving party must indicate in the draft Order that the “basket motion” previously filed is withdrawn.

Parties are advised that the judiciary does not have access to any documents or materials previously filed with the Court.

The totality of the motion materials filed electronically must not exceed 10 MB.  If the motion materials exceed this limit, or otherwise do not comply with this Protocol, the motion will not be heard.

Once a judge reviews the motion materials and determines that the relief sought will be granted, the judge will sign the draft Order using their electronic signature.  A copy of the signed Order will be returned to the moving party via email.  The moving party is responsible for providing a copy of the signed Order to all responding parties within 7 days of its receipt.

Urgent Estates Matters

The Court is able to hear estates matters only where there is urgency.  Routine estates matters cannot be addressed at this time.

Examples of matters that MAY be considered urgent are:

  1. Probate applications where assets are needed to be accessed for support of dependents, or the sale of property, or both;
  2. Revocation of Probate where an estate trustee is dissipating assets or distributing without regard to a dependent;
  3. Support Applications (SLRA) where a deceased did not provide for the needs of a dependent;
  4. POA/Guardianship applications where an incapable person requires a guardian and/or removal of a guardian or POA where the incapable person is at physical risk;
  5. A wills challenge to suspend administration of a will where the validity of the will is challenged, and the estate may be disrupted.

Until further notice, counsel or a self-represented party should submit materials for urgent estates motions through the following generic email addresses:

Barrie   Barrie.SCJ.courts@ontario.ca
Bracebridge   Bracebridge.courts@ontario.ca
Cobourg   Cobourg.court@ontario.ca
Durham (Oshawa)   Durham.SCJ.courts@ontario.ca
Lindsay   Lindsay.courts@ontario.ca
Newmarket   Newmarket.SCJ.courts@ontario.ca
Peterborough   Peterborough.SCJ.courts@ontario.ca

These email addresses may not be used for the submission of routine estates matters.

All materials submitted to the Court for an urgent estates matter must be in a format that allows for the filing of a single email.  The Court is unable to accept materials that are split into multiple emails.  All attachments are to be hyperlinked or made available by “Drop Box” or some other means that does not require sending by email.

Materials submitted for an urgent estates matter will be reviewed by a judge.  If the matter is determined to be urgent, the judge will decide whether the matter will be heard by teleconference or in writing, and counsel or the self-represented party will be advised.

Non-Urgent Civil Matters

It is not possible at this time for the Court to deal with civil matters other than those covered by the Notice and this Protocol.  Counsel are asked to refrain from contacting trial coordinators or using the generic email addresses to make inquiries about non-urgent civil matters.

Justice Michelle Fuerst
Regional Senior Judge,
Superior Court of Justice,
Central East Region