Written By: Lindsay Charles and Ryan Marinacci, Student-at-Law
On February 18, 2021, the Divisional Court released a Notice to the Profession replacing the earlier Notice to the Profession dated June 29, 2020.
This new Notice applies to Divisional Court matters anywhere in Ontario started both before the suspension of regular court operations in March 2020 and since then. The Notice applies to all Divisional Court matters, including panel matters, in-writing motions for leave to appeal, and matters heard by a single judge, including Small Claims Court appeals and motions.
Commencing or scheduling steps in a proceeding is now done by emailing . Requests are to include the title of the proceedings, the file number, jurisdiction, names, and emails of the representatives, the nature of the matter to be scheduled, and brief particulars of the matter. All matters in Divisional Court are subject to case management and the parties are asked to agree on a schedule for the exchange of documents or schedule a case conference with a Divisional Court Administrative Judge or designate.
Motions for a stay or to lift a stay will generally not be granted except in the case of urgency and parties are asked to raise the issue as early as possible, generally when first requesting a hearing.
All matters are being conducted electronically, either by teleconference or by videoconference. Teleconferences are conducted over the phone and ZOOM is used for videoconferences. Gowning is not required. Counsel can share the call links with their clients and other members of their firms, and members of the media or public are asked to email a request for the link to courthouse staff before the hearing.
All documents must be available electronically to the court. Materials are to be shared via CaseLines or provided through another sharing platform. Documents are due four weeks before the hearing date, except for the compendium for oral argument, counsel sheet, or costs outline. Documents must be uploaded in PDF format, indexes should include bookmarks and Factums should contain hyperlinks to authorities and to records. Factums are also to be uploaded in Word format. All materials must comply with the Rules of Civil procedure, e.g. the maximum factum length is 30 pages and reply factums are not permitted except on motions for leave to appeal in writing or where the responding party’s factum raises a new issue.
Documents must be named by document type, party type submitting the document, name of the party, and date the document was signed in the format DD-MMM-YYYY. For instance:
- Factum – Appellant ABC Inc. – 01-JAN-2021
- Appeal Book and Compendium – Appellant ABC Inc. – 01-JAN-2021
- Transcript Brief – Appellant ABC Inc. – 01-JAN-2021
Books of Authorities need not contain the full text of authorities and instead are to contain only authorities not available on CanLII.
Compendiums of oral arguments are encouraged at least five days before the hearing date, containing excerpts of evidence and authorities that will be referenced during the oral argument.
At least one day before the hearing, counsel sheets must be uploaded identifying the names of counsel and the estimated time for submissions. The parties are also to advise whether they have agreed on costs or are to upload bills of costs and costs outline.
The parties must ensure that all materials are properly before the court and are not permitted to add to the record below without an order from the Divisional Court permitting them to adduce fresh evidence. The Court may strike documents not properly before the court with or without leave to bring a motion to adduce fresh evidence.