Notice of Amendments:
On October 26, 2018, Part IV (Civil Proceedings) was added. The former Part I A.1 (Designated Counties for the Commencement of Mortgage Proceedings under rule 13.1.01(3)) is now Part IV A. Part IV B addresses solicitor-client costs assessments.
On September 4, 2018, Part I B was amended to provide direction regarding the use of CourtCall, a remote-appearance service, for telephone and video conferences.
Part I A.1 (as of October 26, 2018, Part IV A) (Designated Counties for the Commencement of Mortgage Proceedings under r. 13.1.01) was added on February 27, 2015 and comes into effect on March 31, 2015.
Effective July 1, 2014
This Practice Direction applies to proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice, Northwest Region, effective July 1, 2014. It supersedes all previous region-specific Practice Directions for the Northwest Region issued prior to July 1, 2014, which are hereby revoked.
Counsel and parties are advised to refer to the relevant Parts of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction as well as the Consolidated Practice Direction for Divisional Court Proceedings which are available on the Superior Court of Justice website at: uat.ontariocourts.ca/scj.
- Part I: All Proceedings
- Part II: Family Proceedings
- Part III: Criminal Proceedings
- Part IV: Civil Proceedings
Part I: All Proceedings
A. Faxing or Emailing Documents and Late Filings of Documents and Confirmation Forms in all Civil, Family and Criminal Proceedings
- There has been a marked increase in civil, family and criminal materials being faxed or e-mailed to the Superior Court of Justice, Northwest Region. This includes case conference, settlement conference, and pre-trial briefs, motion records and briefs of authorities. Often these materials are sent at the last minute. Some of the materials are voluminous.
- In addition, there has been an increase in the number of late filings of confirmation forms and documents for specific hearings.
- This flood of materials has, at times, overwhelmed the court’s capacity to receive and process them. Faxed materials are generally less legible than original materials. They may be out of alignment. In addition, it is far from certain that all pages transmitted will be received by the court. Finally, there is a concern that pages of one document being pulled from the fax machine may be intermingled with another unrelated document.
- Similar problems apply to the printing of e-mailed documents at the court office. Current staffing does not allow for printing and collating of e-mailed materials.
- With respect to late filings of materials and confirmation forms as required under the applicable rules, staff are in a difficult position, not knowing whether they should accept or refuse documents.
- In order that documents to be filed are received in a complete and legible form, all parties are asked to file original documents at the Registrar’s office, complete with original affidavits of service, in compliance with the rule setting out the time for filing. Unless the filing is of an urgent nature, or the presiding judge has requested material to be delivered in this fashion, documents should not be sent to the court for filing by fax or e-mail. The single exception is a Pre-Trial Conference Report (From 17) which may be faxed or delivered to the trial office in accordance with timelines noted on the Form.
- With respect to late filing of documents and confirmation forms, specific direction has been provided to staff that, if confirmations and material are not received within the prescribed time, the court file must not be forwarded to the judge. If counsel or self-represented parties appear on a specific day (and their filings are not complete) they will need to complete a fiat to be presented to the judge and she/he will decide whether or not they will hear the matter or order the parties to select a new date.
B. Requests to Attend Proceedings via Teleconference or Videoconference in all Proceedings
- Counsel and parties requesting to attend their matter via teleconference or videoconference may, in proceedings for which CourtCall is available, arrange their attendance via CourtCall in accordance with paragraphs 11 through 13. Otherwise, they must submit the appropriate Request Form. (See paragraphs 14 through 19 for more information).
- CourtCall, a third-party videoconferencing service, is available for the following matters:
- Assignment Court matters;
- Regular Motions Court matters;
- civil and criminal pre-trials;
- family conferences; and
- any other matter for which telephone appearances are currently authorized.
- All persons who have made the necessary arrangements with CourtCall and advised the Court and any other party in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 may assume that they have the Court’s permission to appear for the event using CourtCall, unless otherwise directed by a judge.
- Any party or counsel wishing to appear by CourtCall must make the necessary arrangements with CourtCall. The process for doing so is as follows:
- If not already registered with CourtCall as a client, register at courtcall.com.
- At least two (2) business days before the hearing, book the appearance by logging into the CourtCall website (courtcall.com) and completing a “New Appearance” request, or by contacting CourtCall at 1-888-882-6878.
- Pay the fee set by CourtCall for the video appearance.
- CourtCall will email or fax a confirmation upon completion of the booking and payment.
- The party or counsel appearing by video must supply his or her own telephone and computer with a camera and internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to allow them to connect and participate.
- On the day of the hearing, the party or counsel must initiate the video appearance by clicking on the link and dialing the toll-free teleconference number provided in the confirmation sent by CourtCall.
- A pre-hearing check-in is required fifteen minutes before the scheduled hearing time.
- The party or counsel must also advise the Court and any other party, in writing, that they will be attending the court event by using the CourtCall service. This can be done by completing the appropriate section on the scheduling or confirmation form filed with the Court.
- If the requesting party or counsel fails to provide this notice, then they must obtain the permission of the presiding judge to attend the matter by any means other than in person.
Teleconference or videoconference attendances not through CourtCall
- If a party or counsel is requesting teleconference or videoconference attendance, but not through CourtCall, the request must be made by submitting a Request Form no less than five (5) days prior to the event
- No request shall be considered approved until approval has been duly granted by a judge of the Superior Court of Justice acting for, or in, the Northwest Region.
- To receive a Request Form for matters in Thunder Bay contact the Trial Coordinator.
- To receive a Request Form for matters in Kenora and Fort Frances, please contact the Assistant Trial Coordinator.
- The contact information for the Trial Coordinator and Assistant Trial Coordinator are available on the Superior Court’s website at: uat.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/schedules/nw/directory.
- This process is authorized for civil proceedings under Rule 1.08 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, for family proceedings under subrule 5 (2) (g) of the Family Law Rules and for criminal proceedings under the Superior Court’s Provincial Practice Direction Regarding Criminal Proceedings and various provisions of the Criminal Code.
Part II: Family Proceedings
- In addition to this Part, counsel and parties in family proceedings are advised to refer to Part I of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction.
A. 14B Motions
- Form 14B motions procedures are governed by Part I of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction. Counsel and parties are advised to refer to that Practice Direction for further direction.
Part III: Criminal Proceedings
A. Gowning for Criminal Pre-trials
- In addition to the gowning requirements outlined in the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction, counsel are required to gown for criminal pre-trials in the Northwest Region.
Part IV: Civil Proceedings
A. Designated Counties for the Commencement of Mortgage Proceedings under rule 13.1.01(3)
- Pursuant to rule 13.1.01(3) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which comes into effect on March 31, 2015, Fort Frances, Thunder Bay or Kenora have been designated as the place for commencement of mortgage proceedings for property located anywhere in the Northwest Region.
B. Solicitor-Client Costs Assessments
- A pre-assessment hearing will be scheduled for all solicitor/client costs assessments.
- The hearing is meant to assist the parties in the mediation of their dispute and, failing settlement, to ensure that the matter is ready for hearing.
- When the documents needed to obtain a Notice of Appointment for Assessment of Costs (Form 58A) are filed, the court shall:
- Set a date for a pre-assessment hearing, to be held by teleconference; and
- Issue a Notice of Assessment – Pre-Assessment Hearing Form to the filing party.
- The filing party shall serve the Notice and the bill of costs on every party interested in the assessment at least seven days before the date fixed for the pre-assessment hearing. The filing party shall file proof of service with the court immediately afterwards.
- At the pre-assessment hearing, the presiding officer will assist the parties in resolving their dispute through mediation.
- If the dispute is settled at the pre-assessment hearing, the presiding officer will make a written endorsement reflecting the terms of the settlement. The court office will then prepare a certificate of assessment, with the endorsement attached, and provide a copy to each party as soon as possible afterwards.
- If the dispute is not settled at the pre-assessment hearing and the parties wish to participate in an extended mediation, the presiding officer shall:
- Schedule an extended mediation;
- Prepare a written endorsement stating that the parties wish to enter into extended mediation; and
- File the endorsement with the court office.
- If the dispute is not settled at the pre-assessment hearing or subsequent extended mediation, then the presiding officer shall:
- Ensure that all required filings have been made;
- Verify proof of service;
- Confirm the bill(s) of costs being assessed and the amount(s) of costs in dispute;
- Attempt to narrow the issues;
- Determine the amount of time required for the assessment hearing;
- Set a date for the assessment hearing; and
- Prepare a written endorsement dealing with subparagraphs a. through f., and file it with the court office immediately afterwards.
- If either party fails to attend the pre-assessment hearing, the presiding officer may schedule the matter for default hearing and provide the court office with an endorsement to that effect.
Dated: April 11, 2014
Amended: October 26, 2018; September 4, 2018; February 27, 2015 (addition of para 7.1)
Heather J. Smith
Superior Court of Justice (Ontario)
Bonnie R. Warkentin
Regional Senior Judge
Superior Court of Justice, Northwest Region