Province-wide Launch of the Civil Claims Online Filing Service
The Ministry of the Attorney General has announced that civil claims online filing (http://ontario.ca/civilclaims) will be available across Ontario as of November 27, 2017, following a successful pilot of the service earlier this year for actions in the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton, London, Newmarket, Ottawa, Sudbury and Toronto. Users of the service have expressed a high level of satisfaction with the service, describing the service as “fast,” “useful,” and of “high quality/reliable” and indicating that they would recommend the service. Read the full announcement.
This new online service builds on the success of the small claims court online filing service. The civil claims service enables you to start a civil action online in the Superior Court of Justice — 24/7 — without visiting a courthouse. To assist lawyers, MAG has issued a Guide to creating a Justice Services Online account.
With this service, users can submit the following documents for filing with the Superior Court of Justice online:
- Statement of Claim
- Notice of Action
- Affidavit of Litigation Guardian of a Plaintiff under a Disability
- Request for Bilingual Proceedings
- Consent to File Documents in French.
The service allows lawyers to file a claim online easily. Lawyers don’t have to fill out the same identifying information every time they submit a claim for filing. The service also allows:
- online payment of court fees by credit card or Interac;
- delivery of a court-issued Statement of Claim or Notice of Action by email;
- draft submissions to be saved and submitted at a later time; and
- online transactions to be tracked (online access to a history of a user’s submissions, draft submissions and online fee payments).
As the Ministry continues to expand this service, users will be able to file additional documents online.
For more information, please visit ontario.ca/civilclaims.
The Toronto Sittings Project
An important update for Personal Injury and Insurance Defence Litigators
In the recent notice concerning the Toronto Sittings Project it was indicated that the dates selected for the sittings were done on the basis that they do not conflict with trial sittings in Central East or Central West. There are no conflicts with Central West, nor are there conflicts with Central East with respect to the June, 2018 sittings. It has been determined, however, that there is a two week overlap with respect to the November 2017 sittings with Central East. Namely, the weeks of November 27 and December 4. Inquiries have been made of the Civil Team in Toronto. We have been advised that, if there is a legitimate conflict between cases called in Central East and Toronto, counsel can make submissions during the sittings and time will be set aside in Toronto, in early 2018, to ensure that the cases can be reached.
Commencing in the fall of 2017 in the Toronto Region, all two to three week personal injury jury cases (excluding medical malpractice actions) will only be scheduled for month-long jury trial sittings. All such cases with fixed trial dates will automatically be moved into the trial sittings.
The sittings will take place two times per year: November and June.
In 2017, the four week sittings will commence on November 27. In 2018, the four week sittings will commence on June 4. Further trial sittings for the fall of 2018 and beyond will be considered depending upon the success of this project.
These months have been chosen because they do not conflict with sittings in Central West and Central East. The sittings are designed to reduce the times out to trials in Toronto. Two to three week personal injury cases have been chosen for this project because most two to three week jury trials involve personal injury matters and they have a very high settlement rate. During the sittings, several courtrooms will be available. Given historic settlement rates it is anticipated that all scheduled cases that do not settle will be reached during the sittings.
All two to three week jury trials that are currently scheduled for September-December 2017 will be moved into the November sittings. Similarly, all two to three week jury trials presently scheduled for January-June 2018 will be moved into the June sittings. Pre-trials that have already been scheduled for these cases in 2017/2018 will remain as scheduled. There will also be a pre-trial blitz prior to each sitting.
The Toronto trial office will soon be in touch with the lawyers involved in the affected two to three week personal injury jury trials to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
Any questions concerning the sittings can be directed to the project coordinator Theodora Apostolopoulos.
Alternatively, you can direct them to Margaret Waddell, who is the TLA's representative on the Toronto Civil Bench and Bar Committee.
Notice to the profession regarding the implementation of reforms to Rule 48.14 (Dismissal for Delay)
As the bar will be aware, a number of changes were made to Rule 48.14 of the Rules of Civil Procedure (Dismissal of Action for Delay) in 2015. This notice is being sent as a courtesy reminder to the profession because automatic dismissal orders under the new rule will be generated beginning January 1, 2017. Read the full notice from the Ministry of the Attorney General here.
Increased Court Fees coming effective July 1, 2016
The TLA has been informed by the Ministry of the Attorney General that it plans to introduce new court fees effective July 1, 2016. The plan is to increase fees by, on average, 36%. Over the past 10 years, the cost of operating the courts has increased by more than 40 per cent, while most court fees have stayed the same.The Ministry of the Attorney General advises that the fee increase is necessary to sustain quality of services over the long term, and is meant to provide some of the necessary funds required to modernize our justice system through investing in programs and services that make our courts more modern and responsive to the people they serve.
As a result, effective July 1, 2016, the Ministry of the Attorney General is proposing the following regulatory changes:
increasing civil, small claims and family court fees based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index;
introducing new family fees for custody, access and support cases in both the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice; and
aligning fee amounts for similar types of transactions in different business lines to make fees easier to understand and administer, and provide greater consistency in fees across practice areas.
The TLA is pleased that the Ministry of the Attorney General has identified that the Ontario civil justice system is in dire need of modernization, including improved programming and services. It will be seeking assurances from the Ministry that the revenue from these increased fees is used for these intended purposes.