The Return to In-Person Court Proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice - PART I

The Return to In-Person Court Proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice - PART I

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has recently released its new guidelines regarding the method of proceedings in civil matters. The guidelines reflect the Province of Ontario’s recent move towards the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing requirements. It is important to note that these guidelines are not 100% mandatory all the time, and some exceptions may apply - which will be discussed in Part II of our blog.

The following guidelines take effect on April 19, 2022:

  1. Case Conferences, Pre-trial conferences, and Trial and motion scheduling court, and Assessment hearings for lawyer fees and legal costs will continue to take place virtually.
  2. Motions and Applications
    • If on consent, without notice, or unopposed: will continue to be held in writing.
    • If contested: will continue to be held virtually, regardless if it is a short or long motion, unless a party requests that it be held in-person, in which case the court will consider the following factors in deciding whether it should be held virtually or in person:
      1. The positions of the parties;
      2. The complexity of the issues;
      3. The finality of the outcome of the motion (e.g. motions for summary judgment);
      4. Whether viva voce evidence (oral testimony under oath) will be heard; and
      5. Any other factor bearing on the administration of justice.
    • Motions for Costs: will be held in writing.
    • Motions for leave to appeal to the Divisional Court: will be held in writing.
  3. Examinations for discovery and Mandatory mediations will be held in person, unless the parties consent to it being conducted virtually.
  4. Trials:
    • Judge-alone trials: Will be held in person unless all parties consent to a virtual trial and the Court approves. Hybrid proceedings may also be considered by the court.
    • Jury trials: Will be held in person. The court has not made it clear that parties can consent to having a jury trial proceed virtually, indicating that this may not an option. However, hybrid proceedings may be considered by the court.
  5. Appeals to the Divisional Court and applications for judicial review: Will be held in person, unless all parties consent to it being heard virtually and the Court agrees.

The team at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LL.P strongly encourages all Ontarians to be aware of changes in their court proceedings and to be prepared to adapt to the changing guidelines. If you or a loved one are involved in civil court proceedings and are unsure of what these changes mean for you, contact us at (800) 715-1082 and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

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