The court’s decision in Jaffer v. Remu et al, 2020 ONSC 5736, shows that parties must be prepared to attend a trial on the scheduled date and cannot assume that the court will grant an adjournment even if it is on consent.
The action in question arose from a motor vehicle accident in February 2012. A pre-trial conference was scheduled for March 30, 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Justice D. Wilson stated that there was a paucity of information concerning any attempts to reschedule the pre-trial conference in a timely fashion. In Toronto, the court was conducting Zoom pre-trial conferences commencing in April 2020.
The trial coordinator had offered a pre-trial conference date of September 16, 2020, but counsel was not available. Both parties consented to adjourn the trial, which was scheduled for October 2020, until after a pre-trial conference could be held.
Justice Wilson denied this request, noting that the Practice Direction in Toronto states that trial dates will only be adjourned in extenuating circumstances. Her Honour stated that trial dates are important and that the court schedules judges according to trials that have been booked.
As a result, the motion for a consent adjournment of the trial was dismissed.