Raising the Bar

Changes are Coming to the Rules of Civil Procedure

Raising the Bar

Changes are Coming to the Rules of Civil Procedure

Date: March 3, 2022

On March 31, 2022, various amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure with respect to pre-trial conferences, expert reports and admissibility of evidence will come into force.

The changes have been brought about by Ontario Regulation 18/22 which amends R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 194: Rules Of Civil Procedure (Rules) made under the Courts of Justice Act.

In this Raising the Bar, we set out some of the key changes coming into force on March 31, 2022.

Pre-Trial Conferences

The following noteworthy amendments are made to the procedural rules regarding pre-trial conferences:

  • Trial records will be required to contain a pre-trial conference report.
  • Unless otherwise provided, a pre-trial conference must be scheduled not more than 120 days and not less than 30 days before the later of (1) the first day fixed for trial and (2) the first day of the sitting during which the trial is expected to be held (this rule does not apply to actions set down before March 31, 2022).
  • At least 30 days prior to a pre-trial conference, each party must file a certificate of readiness indicating whether it intends to call expert evidence. If the party intends to call expert evidence, the party must indicate whether the expert’s report was properly served on the other parties (in accordance with rules 53.03(1) or (2), whichever subrule is applicable). If the expert’s report was not served as required, the party must provide the reason why.
  • If the proceeding is not settled at pre-trial, the presiding judge or associate judge may adjourn the date for the trial or hearing, if necessary and subject to the direction of the regional senior judge or a judge designated by the regional senior judge.
  • If the judge or associate judge finds that a pre-trial conference was unproductive for reasons relating to a party’s conduct, the judge may require that costs be paid immediately.

Expert Reports

Parties may now consent in writing to extend or abridge the time for service of experts’ reports, as long as the scheduled trial date is not affected.

Admissibility of Evidence

If evidence is only admissible with consent of the trial judge because of a failure on the part of a party to comply with the Rules, leave may be granted to admit the evidence if the judge is satisfied that (1) there is a reasonable explanation for the failure and (2) granting the leave would not cause prejudice to the opposing party that could not be compensated for by costs or an adjournment, or cause undue delay in the conduct of the trial.

Going Forward

These changes will streamline the procedural rules for pre-trial conferences and encourage parties to attend them in good faith. They also provide a level of efficiency and accountability to the process of serving an expert report.

If you have any questions with respect to these changes, or any other litigation-related matter, please contact Bonnie Roberts Jones, Rayaz Khan or your regular Hicks Morley lawyer.

The article in this client update provides general information and should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. This publication is copyrighted by Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP and may not be photocopied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP. ©