Case Management

(This is an edited version of our Client Guide which provides general information and is made available to our clients to assist them to understand the case management process.)

Case management began several years ago with separate projects in Windsor (Essex), Sault Ste. Marie (Algoma) and Toronto. The projects in Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie continue. The Toronto experience was re-shaped into Rule 77 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

The stated purpose of the case management rule is to reduce unnecessary cost and delay in civil litigation, facilitate early and fair settlements and brings proceedings to a just determination while allowing sufficient time for the conduct of the proceedings.

Rule 77 applies to all cases in Ottawa and Toronto. Family law cases under the Toronto Family Case Management Rules, Commercial List matters, Estate Court matters, bankruptcy and construction lien matters are excluded from case management. It is contemplated that Rule 77 will apply province-wide once sufficient resources are available.

The principal effect of case management is the involvement of the court at an early stage to manage the proceeding and control the timing of the steps in the litigation. There is an initial 180 time limit where no defence is filed to obtain a final order or judgment, failing which, the registrar will make an order dismissing the proceedings as abandoned.

There are two tracks which have different timelines. The Standard track requires that documents be exchanged and examinations for discovery be completed within 240 days after the first defence is filed. The Fast track requires such steps to be completed within 90 days after the first defence is filed.

The choice of track is initially determined by the plaintiff (except in a case where the amount in issue is less than $25,000 and the Simplified Procedure rules apply. All cases subject to the Simplified Procedure proceed on the Fast track.) In choosing the track, the plaintiff must have regard to:

If another party feels the plaintiff's choice is inappropriate, the other party in an action may make a motion to the court before the close of pleadings for a transfer to the other track. A respondent in an application must make the motion on or before the tenth day after the first affidavit has been filed by a respondent.

The proceeding must be commenced at the court office, although the statement of claim or notice of application is not filed with the court. Rather, only a notice of commencement of proceedings is filed. The statement of claim or notice of application, together with a copy of the notice of commencement of proceedings, must be given to the plaintiff or applicant. Any member of the public may obtain a copy of the statement of claim or notice of application by filing a request or requisition with the registrar. The registrar then obtains a copy from the solicitor for the plaintiff or applicant.

At the time of the commencement of the proceedings, a case management judge is assigned to the case.

The defendant must serve a statement of defence within the usual time limits for serving a statement of defence. A notice of intent to defend and the ten day filing extension it provides is only available in a case on the Standard track. A respondent must similarly file a notice of appearance in the normal fashion. In addition, the defendant must also serve a notice of defence. The defendant files only the notice of defence with the court. A member of the public may obtain a copy of the defence by making a request to the registrar who then obtains it from the defendant's solicitor.

Motions are substantially different in case management. The moving party fills in a specific motion form and the usual notice of motion is dispensed with. Motion records are generally not required, except in complex motions. The judge or case management master will write out the order on the motion form and a formal order does not usually have to be prepared.

The usual practices for production of documents and examination for discovery apply.

The registrar will arrange for a settlement conference to be held at the end of these time frames. The trial date is set at the settlement conference. The court may direct that the parties themselves (or a representative responsible for making decisions and instructing the solicitor) attend at the settlement conference.

Where the court wishes to gather all parties together, a case conference may be called by the court. The court can require that the parties personally attend. The case conference usually deals with administrative issues. Most commonly, there is a need to establish or amend a timetable for specific steps in the case.

Where parties do not adhere to timelines, the court may convene a case conference and create or amend a timetable or order that the party or the party's lawyer pay solicitor and client costs payable immediately. Elaborate timetables are used for motions to compel answers to questions arising out of an examination for discovery, for instance. Where a party fails to comply with the deadlines in a timetable, the court may strike out any document filed by the party, dismiss the proceedings if the defaulting party is a plaintiff or applicant, strike out the defence if the defaulting party is a defendant; or, make another order that seems appropriate.

One final type of conference is provided for under case management. A trial management conference may be called to deal with administrative issues relating to the trial. The court may:

 The trial otherwise proceeds in the normal fashion.


Any questions? If you have any questions about case management, please contact us at:

W. Bruce Drake
Hooey Remus
Telephone: (416) 362-2051
Facsimile: (416) 362-3646
330 Bay Street, Suite 210
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2P1

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This page was created on October 22, 2000 and last updated on April 8, 2017.
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