Notice is given to the Bar and all litigants with civil matters in Central East Region that the court will proceed with its regular civil sittings commencing on Monday, May 17, 2021 for three weeks, concluding on Friday, June 4, 2021. Only non-jury matters will be heard. There will be no civil jury trials.
The provisions of the Notice to the Profession dated January 4, 2021 remain unchanged with the exception that this Notice supersedes the Running Trial List for the time period from May 17, 2021 to June 4, 2021, inclusive. For any cases not reached in the May 2021 sittings, counsel should consider having their matter heard on the Running Trial List as per the Notice to the Profession dated January 4, 2021.
Civil (Non-Jury) Trials to be Heard Virtually
Until further notice it is the court’s intention to conduct all civil non-jury trials via electronic means, i.e. videoconferencing using Zoom. Documents to be relied on at trial must be submitted to the court in electronic format and adhere to the standard document naming protocol set out in Part C (section 8) of the Consolidated Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused Persons, Public and the Media.
Eligibility to be Placed on the Trial List
The following cases will be eligible to be placed on the trial list for the May 2021 sittings:
- All cases that were not reached in the November 2019 sittings
- All cases that were listed to be heard in either the May or November 2020 sittings
- All cases that have been pre-tried since November 2020 to date and which have been deemed ready for trial by the pretrial judge
Matters with a Jury Notice
While the court will NOT be conducting jury trials during the May sittings, the court will consider any motions to strike a jury notice between the time of publication of this notice and April 14, 2021. Any such motions will be heard on an expedited basis. The decision of the motion judge will inform the court’s decision as to whether a matter is then added to the trial list for the May 2021 sittings. All requests for an expedited motion to deal with motions to strike a jury notice are to be submitted to the triage judge by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the same information as set forth below under the subheading “Request to be Placed on the Trial List”. Counsel are advised that while this notice specifically deals with the May 2021 sittings, the court does not anticipate having the capability to conduct a civil jury trial until well into 2022.
Request to be Placed on the Trial List (Deadline: April 15, 2021)
To be confirmed on the trial list, counsel whose case meet the aforesaid eligibility criteria are required to follow the following directions:
A. Consent Requests – Counsel are to consult with all counsel involved in an action to confirm that they remain ready for trial and everyone is consenting to be placed on the May 2021 sittings list. Provided everyone is agreeing to be placed on the sittings list, counsel should sign a 2-page joint memorandum that confirms their consent and indicates:
- the agreed upon length of the trial
- the eligibility to be placed on the list
- when and by whom the case was pre-tried
- a very brief description of the nature of the action
- if a request is being made that the matter be expedited on the trial list, counsel are to provide a brief explanation of why the matter should be expedited – only in exceptional circumstances will the court consider expediting a matter
Counsel must submit their written request to be placed on the May 2021 sittings trial list by no later than April 15, 2021. The court will not accept any requests to be added to the trial list for the May sittings after April 15, 2021. All consent requests should be emailed to email@example.com
B. Opposed Requests – If all parties are not consenting to the matter being heard in the May sittings, counsel are to cooperate in the preparation of one memorandum that sets forth the position of the party seeking to have the matter heard in the May sittings and the party opposing that request. The memorandum shall include the information set forth in paragraph A above. The memorandum shall be no more than 4 pages in length (2 pages for the moving party and 2 pages for the opposing party). The memorandum shall be signed by all counsel. Once completed, the memorandum shall be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Counsel are NOT to submit their memorandum through any other email address.
If counsel do not cooperate in the preparation and submission of the memorandum, the party seeking to have their action added to the trial list may request a case conference with the triage judge. At the completion of the case conference, the triage judge may determine if the matter should be added to the trial list and what costs, if any, should be paid against a party failing to cooperate as required by this notice. The deadline for submissions to the triage judge is April 15, 2021.
All matters where counsel are asking to be added to the May sittings on consent will be added to the trial list provided they meet the eligibility criteria as set forth above. Where an opposed request is made to the triage judge as per paragraph B above, counsel will be advised of the triage judge’s decision.
Once an action is placed on the trial list it will be the responsibility of counsel to advise the court if the action settles.
Trial List Published on Local Bar Association Websites
Once all requests (either consent or opposed) have been reviewed by the triage judge, the court will compile one trial list for the entire Central East region. The trial list will be completed as follow:
- All cases that were not reached in the November 2019 sittings
- All cases from the May and November 2020 sittings with preference given to those cases that had been previously adjourned
- All cases that were pre-tried from March 2020 to April 15, 2021 with priority given to the oldest cases
- Judicial discretion to expedite cases where deemed appropriate
A copy of the trial list will be available to counsel through the website of the following local bar associations where the trial list will be published:
- Ontario Trial Lawyers Association – www.otla.com
- Simcoe County Law Association – www.scla.ca
- York Region Law Association – www.yorklaw.ca
- Durham Region Law Association – www.drla.ca
- Peterborough Law Association – https://peterboroughlaw.org/
- Federation of Ontario Law Associations – www.fola.ca
It will be the responsibility of counsel to familiarize themselves with their position on the trial list. Counsel are specifically asked not to telephone nor email the trial coordinators regarding the trial list as the trial coordinators are inundated with emails and phone calls during the COVID-19 pandemic.
No Adjournments Absent Exceptional Circumstances
Once an action is on the trial list there will be no adjournments absent exceptional circumstances. As with all previous in person civil sittings in Central East Region, counsel will be expected to start their trial once they are called by the trial coordinator. Counsel who have multiple actions on a trial list will be expected to try the action which has been on a trial list the longest (subject to the court’s discretion to expedite a case where extraordinary circumstances require the expediting of a case)
Given that the trials will be tried by videoconference via Zoom, counsel will be expected to ensure that any documents that will be used at trial have been reduced to an easily accessible electronic format.
Regional Senior Justice
Mark L.J. Edwards
February 10, 2021