Notice to the Profession and Parties – Protocol for Civil Trials


This Protocol applies to civil trials in the Superior Court of Justice in the Central East Region, until further notice.

The Protocol is subject to change from time to time as may be necessary.


Civil Trial Sittings

Central East has for a long time run two civil sittings in May and November. Pre Covid, the system worked well.  Since Covid, because of the massive criminal backlog, the sittings have not been able to accommodate the number of civil cases that needed to be tried.

Starting immediately, the May and November 2024 civil trial sittings have been eliminated.  The sittings in 2025 will also be eliminated.

However, please note that the Family May and November trial sittings remain unaffected.

In their place, Central East will run a Civil Blitz starting September 9, 2024 which will run for 5 weeks.  Another Civil Blitz will run from January 6, 2025 for 3 weeks.  The September and January Blitz will continue in 2025 and thereafter if successful.

Lawyers and litigants who have cases in the May and November 2024 sittings will automatically be moved to the September Blitz list.  Lawyers and litigants with cases on the May 2025 sittings will automatically be moved to the January 2025 Blitz list. If cases on the September 2024 list are not reached in September, they will automatically then be moved to the January Blitz list.

The purpose of this Notice is to give as much lead time to counsel and litigants of this change. Where there are exceptional circumstances that preclude any particular case being moved, the court will expect counsel to cooperate and agree on a new date. If exceptional circumstances exist and counsel can not agree on a new date, the matter can then be spoken to in Triage Court where counsel can explain their position in a memo limited to 2 pages in length.  The Triage Judge will then decide if the matter should be moved to a new trial date.

The six judges assigned to the Civil Blitz will all have strong civil backgrounds.  Counsel should come prepared to start their trial when called by the Trial Co-ordinator.   Counsel should also have available during the course of the trial persons with the authority to settle a case with the assistance of a mid-trial judge (not the trial judge). Counsel should also be prepared to try their case where the court has court room availability. By way of example, just because a case is in Barrie does not mean the case might not be tried in Newmarket or anywhere else we have court room availability.

Counsel with cases on the Blitz list are advised that adjournments will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. If a lawyer is actually involved in another trial in another jurisdiction, counsel will not be expected to be in two court rooms at the same time. Where counsel is involved in another trial that has necessitated an adjournment, that lawyer will not get a second adjournment when the case in called in the next Blitz.

The court is well aware that civil pre-trial dates have been difficult to obtain. With anticipated judicial appointments still to be made, we are hopeful of opening up more pre-trial dates in the months ahead.

Dated February 20, 2024

Justice Mark L. Edwards

Regional Senior Judge

Superior Court of Justice,

Central East Region