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New Superior Court Guidelines on Mode of Proceedings

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has issued guidelines on the mode of proceedings, which take effect on April 19, 2022.  The guidelines set out the default position of the Court on whether a matter should proceed in person, virtually, or in writing.

The following events will proceed virtually (by videoconference or audioconference or teleconference), unless the court otherwise specifies:  case conferences, pre-trial conferences, trial and motion scheduling court, and contested motions and applications.

Consent motions, without notice motions, and unopposed motions will be heard in writing.

Examinations for discovery and mandatory mediations will be held in person, unless the parties consent to these events being held virtually or unless the court specifies a different mode of proceeding.

Judge-alone trials will be held in person unless all parties consent to a virtual trial and the court approves.  All civil jury trials will be held in person.  The Court may consider the option of a hybrid proceeding.

All motions for leave to appeal to the Divisional Court will be held in writing, unless the Court otherwise specifies.  All appeals and applications for judicial review in the Divisional Court will be held in person, although there is the possibility for these matters to be heard virtually.

The Superior Court of Justice has also issued guidelines on virtual courtroom etiquette. Starting on April 19, 2022, counsel will be required to gown for any virtual proceeding that, if conducted in person, would require gowning.