Memo to the Profession – Civil Long Motions / Applications Protocol

Long motions and applications are matters which are scheduled for more than one hour and require a special date. From the court’s perspective, a considerable percentage of such motions and applications are adjourned or ultimately are not heard because counsel have not prepared, served and filed the required documents in a timely manner. This results in lost court dates and lengthier wait times for everyone.

In an effort to improve efficiency and reduce wait times for scheduling these motions and applications a new scheduling protocol will be implemented in Sudbury effective immediately. At the heart of the protocol is the requirement that all materials, including factums, must be filed before a hearing date is assigned.

The specifics of the protocol are as follows:

  1. A moving party wishing to bring a long motion shall make the motion returnable on the first short motions date following the time permitted under the rules for service and filing of the respondent’s It is acknowledged that the respondent’s materials will not likely have been filed by the initial return date.
  2. At the initial return date of the motion, the presiding judge shall set a timetable for the filing of all materials required for the motion, and shall make the motion returnable on the first short motions date after those materials are to be filed (the “second return date”). If counsel agree to a timetable in advance of the initial return date and file a consent to reflect their agreement, they need not attend at the initial return date.
  3. In the week prior to the second return date of the motion, counsel are to attend upon the trial co-ordinator to obtain a tentative date for the hearing of the At the second return date the presiding judge shall confirm that all materials have been filed and confirm the date for the hearing of the motion. Once again, if all materials have been filed, counsel agree to the proposed date and file a consent to reflect their agreement, they need not attend at the second return date.
  4. When a date for the hearing of a long motion has been scheduled, that date may only be vacated or adjourned by order of a judge.
  5. The Court may, in its discretion, waive compliance with this protocol in exceptional circumstances.

The requirement that factums be filed in all such motions and applications is designed to encourage counsel to become acquainted with the legal and factual issues at an early stage, and to promote timely and meaningful discussion between counsel with a view to resolving or narrowing down the issues. Factums are also of considerable assistance to the judiciary in preparing for the hearing and drafting a decision.

The implementation of a similar protocol in other centres of our region has proven quite successful in reducing wait times for long motions and applications. I am confident that it will find similar success here in Sudbury.

Regional Senior Justice R. D. Gordon

October 1, 2015