Supreme Court of Canada Directs Lawyers and Judges to Re-think How Lawsuits Are to be Conducted

If you scroll to the top of this web site, you will see quote where I define, in part, what it is that I do.

Let me repeat it:  “Throughout the course of a lawsuit, a large part of my job is to give practical advice in an impractical system.”

Here, in part, is what the Supreme Court of Canada has recently (and in my view, remarkably) declared:

” [there is] a developing consensus that the traditional balance struck by extensive pre-trial processes and the conventional trial no longer reflects the modern reality and needs to be re-adjusted.  A proper balance requires simplified and proportionate procedures for adjudication, and impacts the role of counsel and judges.  This balance must recognize that a process can be fair and just, without the expense and delay of a trial, and that alternative models of adjudication are no less legitimate than the conventional trial.

This requires a shift in culture. …….”  (emphasis added).

Focus on that last sentence.  It is not a suggestion.  It is a requirement.

The Supreme Court has made this declaration, this demand, in the context of Ontario’s “Summary Judgment” rules.  But rather than wait and see if lawyers, judges, and the Ontario government takes up the challenge, it has prepared a precise and direct road map to be followed when dealing with motions for summary judgment.   Now.  Not later.  Now.

In my view, the fact that the Supreme Court has set out such a road map confirms my belief that the declaration that a shift in culture is required is not a mere suggestion, but rather a demand.  A demand meant to be followed.  The process to meet this demand in the context of the summary judgment rule is set out.  But so too is the spirit of the demand to be applied and followed in all aspects of the civil litigation process.

How this will play out is uncertain.  There will be resistance from some quarters.  Even without purposeful resistance, it will take some time to see the effects of this change in course.

John Barzo
205-60 Collier Street,
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
L4M 1G8

#: 705-733-6245

Leave a Comment