Ontario Court Practice Changes

The Ontario Superior Court has published a practice advisory relating to motions practice in Toronto. Motion Scheduling Court will be rebranded as Civil Practice Court with additional case management as part of an initiative to address “motions culture” in Toronto. Changes come into effect on November 10, 2014.

The practice advisory (link) is a labelled a ‘pilot’ and will be in effect until July 1, 2015. The first part of the initiative resulted in changes last year, including the removal of ‘placeholder’ motion dates. A judicial working group is working to identify and implement scheduling changes.

The changes include increased case management, although noting that “Previous case management in Toronto was not successful…”

According to the notice, the changes scheduled for November 10, 2014 include:

  • Motions Scheduling Court will be rebranded “Civil Practice Court”;
  • It will commence no later than 9:30 a.m.;
  • There will be 3 or 4 courts sitting simultaneously, with one dedicated to self-represented litigants.
  • Gowning will not be required;
  • Computer scheduling program will be enhanced to permit the court to easily and consistently identify the next available time slot for the motion. Computers in each courtroom will be required;
  • Motions will only be booked if the parties can confirm their availability to have them heard in the next 100 days (14 weeks), otherwise they will not be scheduled. Absent exceptional circumstances, the Court will schedule a hearing date within 100 days. In order to effectively implement this policy, it will be necessary to adopt a “no adjournment within 2 days of the scheduling hearing” policy, in the absence of extenuating circumstances.