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, November 15, 2021 for 3 weeks, concluding on Friday, December 3, 2021. Unless a subsequent Notice is provided to the Profession advising that jury matters may be heard only non-jury matters will be heard.
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 November 15, 2021 to December 3, 2021, inclusive. For any cases not reached in the November sittings 2021 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.
Please note that counsel must upload their material to CaseLines no later than November 8, 2021.
Eligibility to be Placed on the Trial List
The following cases will be eligible to be placed on the trial list for the November 2021 sittings:
- All cases that were not reached in the November 2019 sittings and or the May 2020 and May 2021 sittings
- All cases that were listed to be heard in either the November 2019 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 November sittings the court will consider any Motions to strike a jury notice between the time of publication of this Notice and October 15, 2021. Any such motions will be heard on an expedited basis. The decision of the motion judge will inform the courts decision as to whether a matter is then added to the trial list for the November 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 at triagejudgeNovembersittings@ontario.ca with the same information as set forth below under the subheading “request to be placed on the trial list”.
Jury Trials Post November 2021
The ability of the court to conduct a jury trial in Central East is entirely dependent on public health issues arising out of the pandemic. For the time being any jury trial must be conducted in a “socially distanced court room” with a modified jury deliberation room that also allows for socially distancing. As of the time of publication there are 6 socially distanced court rooms in Central East that allow for a jury trial – civil or criminal.
With these constraints the court rooms set up for a jury trial will be used for criminal jury trials. It has been the experience of the court that often a criminal jury trial will resolve for one reason or another. The court is then left with an empty court room. If the civil Bar wants to conduct a civil jury trial the only option at the moment is for a civil jury matter to be scheduled as a back up to a criminal case. Counsel wishing to proceed in this fashion may make a request to the triage judge in the form of a two page memo detailing the nature of the case, its anticipated length, when and by whom the case was pre tried and the date when counsel are prepared to try their case. This procedure must be done on consent. Counsel will pick their date for trial. It will be a fixed date. If the criminal trial that they are a backup to resolves counsel will be expected to start their trial immediately. The location of the trial may not be the location where the action was commenced. Counsel and their witnesses must therefore be prepared to travel to the court house where the court has a vacant court room made vacant by the resolution of a criminal matter.
Request to be Placed on the Trial List (Deadline: October 15, 2021)
To be confirmed on the trial list, counsel whose case meet the aforesaid eligibility criteria are required to follow the following directions:
- 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 November 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 November 2021 sittings trial list by no later than October 15, 2021. The court will not accept any requests to be added to the trial list for the November sittings after October 15, 2021. All consent requests should be emailed to triagejudgeNovembersittings@ontario.ca
- Opposed Requests – If all parties are not consenting to the matter being heard in the November 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 November sittings and the party opposing that request. The memorandum shall include the information set forth in para 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 triagejudgeNovembersittings@ontario.ca. 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 November may request a case conference with the triage judge. At the completion of the case conference the triage judge will 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 October 15, 2021.
All matters where counsel are asking to be added to the November 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 para 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.
Running Trial List and Running Long Motion List
As the protocol for all matters on the civil running trial list and the civil long motion list require counsel and the parties to be available on 2 and 3 days notice respectively – all matters on both of these lists will automatically be added to the Trial List for the November 2021 sittings UNLESS counsel specifically consent not to be added to the trial list. Such consent must be filed no later than October 15, 2021 failing which the matter will appear on the Fall 2021 rial List. If one party consents and the other party does not consent the parties may submit a one-page memo to the triage judge for determination of whether the matter should or should not be added to the trial list.
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 November 2019 sittings, the November 2020 sittings and the May 2021 sittings with preference given to those cases that had been previously adjourned
- All cases that were pre-tried from March 2020 to October 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 local Bar associations where the trial list will be published:
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)
Best Practices for Remote Hearings
For more information on the Task Force’s Best Practices for Remote Hearings please refer to the link provided below.