The Central East Region has issued a new Notice to the Profession for civil matters, effective January 4, 2021. The Central East Region is comprised of Barrie, Bracebridge, Cobourg, Lindsay, Newmarket, Durham (Oshawa), and Peterborough. This is a summary:
Civil pre-trials are being held in all centres in the Region. The court will not initiate the scheduling of a pre-trial. This is the responsibility of counsel. The Notice sets out a specific email address to request the scheduling of a pre-trial conference.
In the request, counsel must explain the nature of the action, why a pre-trial would be of assistance, and what, if any, settlement discussions have taken place. There is no requirement for the parties to certify that the case is capable of settlement in order to schedule a pre-trial.
Pre-trial memos may not exceed 15 pages. Any additional documents that counsel wish the pre-trial judge to review must be hyper-linked or made available by “Dropbox” or some other means that does not require sending by email.
Pre-trial memos have to be filed at a specific email address, no later than five business days prior to the pre-trial. Pre-trial memos that do not comply with the Notice will not be accepted by the court.
Pre-trials will be held remotely by Zoom. The only individuals who may be present are counsel with carriage of the file, any party who is self-represented, and the pre-trial judge.
Counsel must have their clients available so that immediate instructions can be sought. Counsel retained by a corporation, such as an insurance company, must certify to the presiding judge at the beginning of the pre-trial that they have available a representative of the corporation with authority to settle.
Running Civil Trial List
The November 2020 civil trial sittings were cancelled, and the status of the May 2021 civil trial sittings is uncertain.
Only cases that have been pre-tried and deemed ready for trial by a pre-trial judge are eligible to be placed on the running civil trial list. This includes all cases that were not reached in the November 2019 and May 2020 sittings. Further, any case pre-tried since March 15, 2020, and deemed ready for trial by the pre-trial judge is eligible to be placed on the running civil trial list. There is no requirement to attend at trial scheduling court.
Cases can be put on the running trial list on consent of the parties or by order of a triage judge. The Notice contains a specific email address to send consents to have cases placed on the trial list. If the parties do not consent, submissions must be made in writing.
Once a matter is placed on the trial list, parties are expected to be available to commence the trial when called, on a minimum of three days notice. Counsel who have multiple cases on the trial list will not be expected to try those cases back-to-back. The court will extend an interval of three weeks.
The court will attempt to provide updated copies of the trial list to the local bar associations at regular intervals. It is the responsibility of the parties to know where they are on the trial list. Parties are asked to avoid contacting the trial coordinator regarding the status of their case on the running list.
Parties should be prepared to conduct non-jury trials virtually, by Zoom. Regardless of whether a non-jury case proceeds in person or by Zoom, all parties should consider and discuss among themselves in advance of the trial what documents the trial judge needs to render a fair decision.
Parties should have all documents available in an electronic format that is user-friendly. Counsel will be expected to present their closing arguments with the assistance of written submissions that are hyperlinked to the relevant documents and case law.
Running Civil Long Motions List
Any previous summary judgment motions, long motions, and applications that were scheduled to be heard, and any new motions that have not been scheduled, are eligible to be added to the running civil long motions list. These motions do not need to be pre-tried.
Contested Short Civil Motions
Beginning on January 1, 2021, the new provisions in rule 1.08 of the Rules of Civil Procedure will apply to all non-consent motions in the Central East Region. If counsel cannot agree on the method of hearing, a triage judge will convene a case conference. Counsel will be required to submit a two page memorandum explaining their position as to the method of hearing.
To obtain a date for a short motion, counsel shall contact the trial coordinator at the email address listed in the Notice.
Once a motion date has been obtained, the moving party shall serve their motion materials, including a notice of motion, a factum not to exceed 15 pages, and a draft order, on all parties, and then file the materials electronically. Casebooks should not be filed. Counsel should provide a list of cases with hyperlinks.
The moving party must provide a written undertaking that an original copy of the motion materials with proof of service and any fee payable will be filed with the court filing office in the applicable location, within 45 days of the motion being heard.
Any responding party may serve their motion materials, including a factum not to exceed 15 pages, on all other parties by email and then file the materials electronically.
Motions for Court Approval
Counsel may bring motions for court approval in writing. Material shall be filed electronically. Any exhibits that would normally be attached to the affidavit filed in support of the motion should be hyper-linked.
Civil Motions on Consent
All consent motion materials must be filed electronically. The materials must include a notice of motion, an affidavit or affidavits, a consent signed on behalf of all parties, email addresses for all parties, a draft order approved as to form and content by all parties, and a draft order in Word format for judicial signature.
The moving party must also provide a written undertaking that an original copy of the motion materials with proof of service and any fee payable will be filed with the court filing office in the applicable location within 45 days of the motion being heard.
Counsel must ensure that they follow required naming conventions when electronically filing documents. All documents submitted to the court electronically on or after January 11, 2021 must be named in accordance with the standard document naming protocol set out in Part C of Chief Justice Morawetz’s Consolidated Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused Persons, Public and the Media.
Factums must hyperlink all references to case law to an electronic database. The hyperlink must be to an external URL, such as Dropbox, Sync.com, Google Drive, or something similar, and must not be password protected. Counsel must not file briefs of authorities unless the case law they intend to refer is not found on an electronic database.
If counsel file more than 25 pages of documentary evidence, they must also file a compendium containing only those documents and case law that counsel will actually refer to in argument.