Amendments to Federal Courts Rules

Amendments have been made to the Federal Courts Rules relating to scheduling of general sittings, format of documents, notices of appearances in applications, increasing minimum lead time to file motion materials, and other “miscellaneous” amendments.

The amendments will be formally published in the Canada Gazette on February 27, 2013. The amendments were registered February 7, 2013 as SOR/2013-0018 [Update: the amendments have now been published in the Canada Gazette.]

A copy of the amendments is available as a PDF but were published in substantially the same form in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on July 21, 2012.

Regarding the scheduling of general sittings, some of the changes will come into force in August 2013 and will change the date of general sittings in many cities:

  • Ottawa has already changed from every Tuesday and Thursday to every Wednesday
  • Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver will be changing from every Monday to every Tuesday
  • in other provinces, the Court will establish general sittings at least once per month

This change, along with the increased minimum lead time for notices of motion from 2 to 3 days will likely assist the court with arranging the schedules for judges and hearing rooms. The Federal Court provides a schedule for general sittings and regularly cancels general sittings in many cities if no motions are brought.

The changes to the Notice of Appearance in applications addresses the issues raised in Schering-Plough Canada Inc. v. Pharmascience Inc., 2008 FCA 230. The new version of the Notice of Appearance, Form 305 merely states “The respondent intends to appear in respect of this application” instead of the previous wording “The respondent intends to oppose this application.”