- Posted by admin
- On May 5, 2020
As the national rate of new COVID-19 cases has slowed down and we all settle in to a new “normal”, the legal community has continued to adapt and change the ways in which legal services are provided. St. Lawrence Barristers will continue to monitor and update our clients and the legal community as legal practice evolves. STLB’s previous updates can be found here and here.
Remember, all limitations periods and other statutory deadlines for civil matters have been suspended by the order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (O. Reg 73/20).
Administration of Justice and Court Procedures
The Supreme Court of Canada
- The Supreme Court of Canada had adjourned the hearings scheduled for March, April and May 2020. Eight of these hearings have now been scheduled: four for June and four for September. They will take place by video-conference. A list of these scheduled cases can be found here. All other hearings will be postponed to the Supreme Court’s fall session, which begins 5 October 2020.
- Remember, all deadlines imposed by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada have been suspended until further notice.
- Any filings should be made by email with original paper copies to follow.
- The suspension period set out in the Notice to the Parties and the Profession dated March 19, 2020 is extended until May 29, 2020, and all matters scheduled to be heard during the extended suspension period are adjourned indefinitely.
- However, urgent or exceptional matters, case management hearings, other matters directed to proceed by the Court, or certain hearings made by request may proceed by teleconference, videoconference, or in writing.
- Deadlines for commencing appeals or applications under the Federal Courts Act can be extended on request.
- Filings should be made electronically through the Court’s e-filing portal for the Federal Courts or by email for the Federal Court of Appeal. Registry staff cannot accept in-person filing, though there is designated document drop-off at Registry counters.
Ontario Superior Court of Justice
- Civil matters that were scheduled to be heard on or after 17 March 2020 are adjourned until further notice.
- The Court is hearing urgent matters, defined as any time-sensitive matter where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result if there is no hearing. The Court is also conducting remote hearings for select pre-trial conferences, consent motions in writing, and motions or applications where a party is under disability.
- All time periods for steps in civil proceedings have been suspended.
- Parties should file claims through the Civil Claims Online Portal.
Ontario Superior Court of Justice—Divisional Court
- All scheduled matters are suspended until further notice, though the Divisional Court is remotely hearing urgent matters and requests for judicial review related to COVID-19. Non-urgent matters can be scheduled with the Court via email.
- All materials must be filed via email.
Ontario Court of Justice
- The Ontario Court of Justice will not be returning to full operations on 29 May 2020, as previously planned. All trials and preliminary inquiries for family, criminal and provincial offences matters will be postponed until 6 July 2020 at the earliest unless a seized judge orders otherwise.
Small Claims Court
- Small Claims Court hearings have been suspended effective 16 March 2020 and until further notice. Until that further notice, Small Claims Court is only hearing urgent motions and urgent garnishment hearings. This will include time-sensitive cases that would result in immediate and serious financial hardship if no hearing were to take place, or cases in which a judgment debtor has an outstanding warrant for arrest issued in relation to a Small Claims court finding of contempt.
- A defence to the claim need not be filed unless ordered by a judge.
- Court documents cannot be filed at Small Claims Court counters at this time. Claims can still be filed online here.
Other General Updates
- For an interesting think-piece on how courts should use the COVID-19 pandemic to look ahead, see here. In brief, let’s modernize our courts by making the process more efficient, eliminating paper, and getting on board with remote appearances.
Stay safe, everyone!