Keeping the Court Informed

Typically, at the beginning of each day in motions courts, the sitting Judge purges the list of matters scheduled to be heard that day; that is the Judge goes through the list to see which matters are on consent, those that are not opposed and those in which the parties wish to proceed. With the latter matters, the Judge may inquire as to the amount of the time the parties anticipate for their respective submissions. The Judge then usually hears the consent matters and those that are not opposed first because they may be able to be heard quite quickly and minimize the time in Court for the lawyers on those matters.

Before appearing in Court on a date, counsel are required to file with the Court, either two or three days (depending on the respective Court office) before the hearing date, a Confirmation of Motion form, confirming if the matter is proceeding, and if so, on what basis and in respect of what issues. The Court files pertaining to the matters proceeding on a given day are, generally speaking, given to the sitting Judge the day before.

Often matters which were confirmed on the Confirmation of Motion form as proceeding end up getting adjourned on consent, or proceed on fewer issues than indicated. Judges become frustrated when such situations arise if counsel, knowing that the status of a matter has changed, did not advise the Court as soon as possible with the result that the Judge needlessly spent significant time reviewing a file which in the end was not proceeding, in whole or in part.

On March 27, 2007, at an Ontario Bar Association, Trusts & Estates section meeting attended by a panel of several Justices, Justice Perell noted that to assist Judges in preparing for the next day’s matters, counsel can do the following:

(i) specifically list on the Confirmation of Motion form the materials that are being relied upon by the parties,

(ii) if the file is extensive, have someone attend at Court the day before the hearing date to organize the Court file and determine if all of the materials necessary for the hearing are in the file and, if not, to file a copy

(iii) write to the Court office should the status of the matter change between the filing of the Confirmation of Motion form and the hearing date, and

(iv) write to the Court office, if necessary, to advise as to the materials that are required for the hearing.

By following these suggestions we all benefit as the Court will be able spend less time on the matters that need less time and more on the substantive ones that justifiably need more time and due consideration.

Have a good day.