On March 15, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice announced that, due to COVID-19, hearings of civil matters would only proceed where the matters are “urgent”. Generally, these are time-sensitive motions and applications, where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result if there is no judicial hearing.
Effective April 6, 2020, most Court locations will begin to hear a limited range of additional matters, beyond “urgent” matters. The complete list of civil matters that may be heard is region-specific, but generally includes:
- Pre-Trial Conferences – pre-trial conferences that were cancelled between March 16 and May 31, 2020 due to the court closure can be rescheduled at the request of the parties. Pre-trials will proceed by telephone or video conferencing. The objective of the pre-trials will be settlement of the action; the parties must certify that the case is capable of settlement with the assistance of a pre-trial judge.
- Consent motions, in writing – where parties are jointly requesting the same relief from the Court, they can now file such requests in writing.
- Rule 7 motions or applications for approval of settlement, in writing – the Court will now hear requests for relief under Rule 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which are requests made on behalf of those who do not have capacity to make legal decisions on their own (referred to as “parties under disability”).
Speak with your lawyer about how best to pursue or defend a civil claim during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Court has reduced its operations, your lawyer may still be able to advance your claim during this time.
Cunningham Swan will continue to monitor the Court’s operations and report the latest developments on this blog.
Click here to view: Notice to the Profession, the Public and the Media Regarding Civil and Family Proceedings – Update.