Notice to the Profession – Central West Region (September 25, 2020)

Effective October 5, 2020, amended December 31, 2020

This is a further Notice to the Profession to deal with the continued re-opening of the Superior Court of Justice in the Central West Region. This Notice to the Profession supersedes the prior Central West Notices to the Profession dated May 13, 2020 and June 25, 2020.

Counsel, parties and the public attending the courthouses must ensure strict compliance with all health and safety requirements posted throughout the courthouse. Failure to comply will result in being denied admission to or being required to leave the courthouse. If you are uncertain about the health and safety requirements in the courthouse, please inquire before attending the courthouse.

The Superior Court of Justice is moving towards complete electronic filing of all court documents. All electronic materials MUST be filed in accordance with any provisions in the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Family Law Rules, Amendments to the Criminal Proceedings Rules for the Superior Court (Ontario), August 12, 2020, Part IX and the Central West Region Filing Court Documents linked at the end of this Notice. Counsel and parties are encouraged to check this link before filing documents with the court as the Central West Region Filing Court Documents will be updated from time to time. Failure to file court documents in accordance with the Central West Region Filing Court Documents will result in the documents being rejected.

Each electronic material filed for use in court proceedings must have proper file names. This requires the file name to indicate:

  1. the name of the party filing the material AND whether they are the plaintiff/applicant or defendant/respondent such as Ms. X, Respondent;
  2. a description of material such as, “Affidavit” or “Notice of Motion” or “Factum”; and
  3. the date of the material was created or signed.

For example: “ABC Inc. Applicant’s Notice of Motion September 14 2020

Each electronic material must have each page consecutively numbered, including any attachments such as exhibits.

All electronically filed documents must be served on all interested parties in accordance with the applicable Rules and must clearly set out the email addresses of the party filing the materials and all other interested parties.

Barrister gowns must be worn for all trials and for criminal pre-trial applications unless the presiding justice orders otherwise. All other hearings, including virtual hearings are formal court hearings which require counsel and the parties attending to act with due respect for the Rules and court decorum including wearing proper business attire at such hearings.

CRIMINAL MATTERS

Criminal Applications and pre-trial conferences

All requests for criminal applications and pre-trial conferences will require the applicant to email the Trial Coordinator’s Office, briefly outlining the case name, nature of the application and if there is any urgency to the matter. The email should be copied to opposing counsel.

For applications, counsel will be contacted with an available date and time for a conference call with a judge to determine whether the application will proceed, when it can proceed, time estimates, whether the application will proceed in person, by audioconference or videoconference and other details of the application.

For pre-trial conferences, the Trial Coordinator will provide counsel with the date and time for a conference call pre-trial conference.

Please contact the local Trial Coordinator for further details.

Brampton: Criminal Trials

All Criminal Jury and Non-Jury trials scheduled in Brampton will be tried subject to courtroom availability. The “Monday morning pre-trials” will now be held on the Thursday and/or Friday afternoon before the trial is to commence at times to be arranged by the Trial Coordinator.

All Pre-trial conferences and Trial Readiness Court attendances remain mandatory for all trials scheduled to proceed.

Trial Readiness and Assignment Court appearances will be by audioconference unless ordered otherwise. The cases will be called in the order in which they appear on the docket. Counsel should call 416-212-8013 ID 3360284# Please do not announce your name when prompted. Just push the # key.

With regards to accused in custody, counsel are strongly encouraged to obtain and file designations so that the accused does not have to be brought to court or appear remotely in Assignment Court or Trial Readiness Court.

For Assignment Courts, counsel can obtain a pre-trial date as noted above from the Trial Coordinator’s Office before committal for trial. The accused can then be remanded directly to the pre-trial date without an Assignment Court appearance. Where a pre-trial date has not been obtained before the committal, counsel can arrange a pre-trial date in advance of the Assignment Court through the Trial Office as noted above. If the date is after the Assignment Court, the accused will be remanded from the Assignment Court with a discretionary bench warrant to the pre-trial date.

For Trial Readiness Court appearances, counsel are reminded that Form 18 C-1 to the Criminal Proceedings Rules of the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) that can be emailed to the Trial Coordinator three days in advance of Trial Readiness Court. Provided all counsel agree that all filings requirements have been met, there is no need to attend Trial Readiness Court.

As with all Superior Court appearances, all counsel must know the net Jordan date and be prepared to indicate whether the proposed dates raise Jordan issues.

Milton, Guelph, Orangeville, Walkerton and Owen Sound: Criminal Trials

Criminal trials scheduled in these centres will be tried subject to courtroom availability.

Criminal jury trials in these centres, which cannot be accommodated in the center, may be moved to Brampton or other courthouses within or outside the Region, depending on courtroom availability and jury selection facilities.

Summary Conviction Appeals in central west region

Summary Conviction Appeals will continue to be scheduled and heard. Once all filings are completed, counsel will be notified of the time assigned for the appeal and to arrange a scheduling conference call to determine the time/date and whether the appeal will proceed in person, by audio or video.

CIVIL AND FAMILY MATTERS

Consent Motions, R. 14(b) Motions, Estate Matters and Over-the-Counter Motions

Parties must file their complete materials with the court. The motions/matters will be dealt with by a judge as soon as is practicable.

Regular Motions (less than 1 hour)

Regular motions will be scheduled and heard virtually subject to the discretion of the presiding judge.

For new regular motions, the moving party must first obtain a date for a regular motion from the Trial Coordinator’s Office.

All parties must comply with all applicable Rules for the service and the electronic filing of the motion materials. Copies of any relevant orders and endorsements must also be included in the electronic materials filed.

The parties must file a Confirmation form in accordance with the Rules, otherwise, the regular motion may not be scheduled to be heard. The parties must include a list of the individual documents filed and to be relied on at the motion.

Counsel and parties will be advised of the details to connect into the virtual hearing.

Counsel and parties will be held to the estimated times unless the presiding judge determines otherwise.

Long Motions

For the requirements applicable to long motions in civil and family matters in the Central West Region, please see the Appendix.

Family Law Conferences

Family Law Conferences will be heard virtually subject to the discretion of the presiding judge.

To schedule Family Law Conferences, counsel and parties must first obtain a date for a Family Law Conference from the Trial Coordinator’s Office.

All parties must comply with all applicable Family Rules for service and the filing of conference materials.

The filed electronic materials by each party is limited to case or settlement conference briefs of four (4) pages plus only those excerpts of documents necessary and relevant to the issues to be decided; proof of service; and draft order(s). Copies of all relevant orders and endorsements must also be included in the electronic materials filed.

The parties must file a Confirmation form, otherwise, the Family Law Conference may not be heard.

Counsel and parties will be advised of the details to connect into the virtual hearing.

Urgent Motions:

Parties must file their complete motion materials with the court. The court staff will make every effort to put the motion materials before a judge as soon as is practicable. A judge will determine whether the matter is urgent. If not, counsel/party will be so advised. If the matter is urgent, a judge will either deal with the urgent motion or provide directions for it being heard virtually or in person.

Civil Pre-Trials

Currently scheduled civil pre-trials will proceed virtually subject to the presiding justice.

The parties must re-file their pre-trial briefs in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.

ELECTRONIC FILING

All documents filed with the court must be in accordance with the attached “Central West Region Filing Court Documents”, failing which, the documents may NOT be before the court.

The following link contains the updated information as to where court documents MUST be electronically filed by counsel and the parties. https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/notice-cw-september-25-2020/cw-filing/

APPENDIX

In the Central West Region, a “long motion” is one that is anticipated to take one hour or more.

Many long motions are canceled shortly before the hearing date; some are simply not ready to proceed resulting in adjournments and some are simply not confirmed due to settlement or otherwise. As a result, only a small percentage of Long Motions proceed on the dates scheduled. As a result, CW’s limited judicial resources are wasted and obtaining new long motion dates from the Trial Coordinator are often well into the future.

This procedure is intended to limit the number of long motions which do not proceed on the date scheduled.

Subject to specific directions on a long motion from a judge, the following procedure will apply to all long motions scheduled in the Central West Region on or after January 1, 2021. Long motions scheduled prior to December 31, 2020 will continue to be governed by the existing procedure for long motions.

Scheduling Long Motions

To schedule and secure a long motion hearing date from the Trial Coordinator’s Office in the Central West Region, counsel and litigants must:

  1. Unless the long motion is ex parte, confer with the opposing party to identify possible dates for the long motion and to discuss the estimated time required for the long motion;
  2. The moving party then must obtain a motion date from the Trial Coordinator’s Office from the courthouse where the long motion is to be heard. When obtaining a date, counsel and litigants must advise the Trial Coordinator’s Office the estimated time required for the long motion;
  3. After the long motion hearing date has been obtained, counsel and litigants must serve the Notice of Motion and motion materials forthwith on all parties with an interest in the long motion.

Proof of Service of the Notice of Motion and Motion Record must be filed within 10 days from the date the long motion date is obtained from the Trial Coordinator’s Office. Subject to an order from a judge, failure to do so will result in the long motion hearing date being vacated.

Additional Documents Required

Parties are advised that their filed materials for a long motion must include:

  • copies of all relevant orders and endorsements; and
  • a list of all documents filed and to be relied on at the motion.

Timetabling the Necessary Steps

After the motion materials have been served on all interested parties, all counsel and the litigants must agree in writing upon a timetabling schedule for completion of all steps necessary for the long motion to proceed on the scheduled date.

Counsel and litigants must file the written timetable scheduling agreement along with their Confirmation Sheet.

If counsel and the litigants are NOT able to agree upon a timetabling scheduling agreement, the party who obtained the long motion date may request from the Trial Coordinator’s Office, a telephone conference hearing date, before a judge to set a timetabling schedule by court order for the long motion and/or other directions the judge considers appropriate.

In the event the long motion does not proceed on the scheduled hearing date and there is no written timetabling agreement or order, the court will consider this a significant factor in determining whether to grant an adjournment and/or to award costs and the quantum of costs of the aborted long motion hearing date.

Adjournments of Long Motions

Adjournments of long motions are discouraged. Counsel and parties should expect that unnecessary adjournments will attract cost awards. However, the court recognizes there may be exceptional circumstances where an adjournment is warranted.

i) Consent adjournments more than 14 days prior to the long motion hearing date

If all counsel and the parties agree, at least 14 days prior to the long motion hearing date, that the long motion is to be adjourned, one of the parties may write to the court (copied to all other parties) setting out:

  1. the request for an adjournment;
  2. that it is on consent of all interested parties; and
  3. setting out the reasons why the adjournment is appropriate or necessary. Only one adjournment will be granted on consent.

Counsel and the parties will be given the next available long motion date. Counsel and litigants should not expect to be given an earlier date as a result of the consent adjournments.

ii) Opposed adjournments more than 14 days prior to the long motion hearing date

If counsel or a party seeks an opposed adjournment, at least 14 days prior to the long motion hearing date, the party seeking the adjournment shall obtain from the Trial Coordinator’s Office a telephone conference hearing date before a judge who will determine whether to grant the opposed adjournment of the long motion date or make an order for directions regarding the long motion.

iii) Consent or opposed adjournments within 14 days of the long motion hearing date

Unless otherwise dealt with by a judge in advance of the long motion hearing date, any adjournments sought within 14 days of the long motion hearing date, whether opposed or on consent, shall be made to the motions judge on the scheduled hearing date. A copy of the timetabling scheduling agreement must be provided to the motions judge.

Counsel and parties should be prepared to proceed with the long motion in the event the adjournment is NOT granted.

If an adjournment is granted, all counsel and parties must bring and have available their Costs Outlines to permit the motions judge to deal with the issue of costs of the adjournment and to make any other order for directions.

Confirming the Long Motion

Unless otherwise directed by a judge:

  1. All long motions must be confirmed by all interested parties by filing Confirmations no later than 14 days prior to the hearing date. Failure to file Confirmations will result in the long motion hearing date being vacated and made available to other parties on a short notice basis; and
  2. All materials for long motions (including factums maximum 20 pages) must be filed no later than as set out in the agreed upon timetable scheduling agreement but in no case less than 14 days prior to the long motion hearing date. If all motion materials are not filed within 14 days prior to the long motion hearing date, the long motion, subject to the discretion of the motions judge, may or may not be heard, may be adjourned, dismissed or directions issued.

RSJ Ricchetti