Civil Practice Court Toronto – Purpose & Process [video]

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You must attend Civil Practice Court (CPC) in Toronto for some specific matters, such as scheduling long motions, long applications, summary judgment motions and urgent issues. The CPC has its unique processes that are explained in this lecture in simple terms.

This lecture is taught by Amer Mushtaq, LL.B., M. Engineering , B.Sc. (Hons.), who is the Principal and Founder of Formative LLP.   Through his YouTube channel, YouCounsel, Amer shares practical advice from his years of legal experience to help anyone access justice and achieve their goals.  Subscribe today to learn more.

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Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. Today will talk about Civil Practice Court Toronto, what is its purpose, why was it created, and what are the processes with respect to Civil Practice Court.

We begin with our usual disclaimer that this course is not legal advice. If you have any specific questions you must contact a lawyer or paralegal or Law Society of Upper Canada.

We’ll discuss what is a Civil Practice Court, why it was created, and we’ll talk about processes at C.P.C.

Civil Practice Court came into existence I believe in July 2015, and it replaced the Motions Scheduling Court which used to look after all kinds of scheduling for the court. How was it created? It was created through practice, direction, and Toronto Region, and if you have listened to my previous lectures you may know that Courts of Justice Act is the legislation that deals with different processes at courts and creation of course and whatnot.

And then under Courts of Justice Act we have rules of civil procedure that provide rules or process at courts in Ontario. And then underneath that you have Practice Directions for different regions, Toronto being one region, and so these Practice Directions further modify some of the rules with respect to that specific court.

So let me take you to the Practice Direction that deals with Civil Practice Court, this is called Consolidated Practice Direction for Civil Actions Applications Motions and Procedural Matters in Toronto Region. And let’s see where it talks about Civil Practice Courts.

The Civil Practice Court right here. What is the purpose of Civil Practice Court? It’s defined in Paragraph 1: primarily the reason for the creation of C.P.C. was that there is a motion culture specifically in Toronto; the judges are booked months and months in advance for the motions, and sometimes the motions are not booked appropriately, sometimes they shouldn’t be before a judge, and sometimes they are not booked for the right time and whatnot.

So the Toronto Court decided that they will let a judge oversee the scheduling of these motions and applications, so that proper motions are dealt properly and where the court’s intervention is required, the court can intervene. Where a case can be managed or should be managed then that should be managed. So it’s an overseeing on the part of a judge to make sure that all the all the motions and applications and urgent matters are dealt with properly.

So what does C.P.C. do? So this is the link for the Practice Direction. C.P.C. deals with Long Motions, Long Applications, Summary Judgment Motions, and Urgent Matters. Four items you want to keep in mind.

What is a Long Motion – in Toronto, not anywhere else? Long Motion in Toronto you read underneath rules applicable to all the motions and applications, and over here you will see applications and motions before a judge or master that required two hours or less for all parties to argue are considered Short Applications or Short Motions. All parties, not just your side.

So if it takes two hours, or if you estimate that it will take two hours or less for the judge or a master to listen to the entire motion or application, then that’s a Short motion, a Short application. Otherwise it’s a Long Motion or Long Application. So if it’s a Long Motion, Long Application Summary Judgment Motion, or Urgent Matters as I indicated, then you attend Civil Practice Court, and that’s where your matter is schedule for hearing.

Now a quick point on Urgent Matters and Summary Judgment Motions. So let’s cover Summary Judgment Motions. Even if your Summary Judgment Motions is less than two hours you still go to C.P.C. and get your scheduling for that motion. Just because it’s two hours or less does not mean that you can go through a motions scheduling clerk and then get to scheduling, no. For Summary Judgment Motions you’ll have to go through C.P.C.

Similarly, for Urgent Matters, if you have an Urgent Matter that may need the attention of the court for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour, you will still not be able to schedule it through a motion clerk, because the motion clerk, when he or she will look at the schedules, the schedules will be booked before the judges for months and months in advance. So you won’t be able to, the clerk won’t be able to squeeze you in for an Urgent Matter. The only person who can do that is a C.P.C. Judge. So you will have to appear before a C.P.C. Judge and explain why your matter is urgent and who needs to address that and the judge will take care of that matter.

All of this is provided in the Practice Directions. I’m giving you a digest of all of this information. So what is the process? Step number one; you have to get an appointment at C.P.C. You can’t just simply walk in. So for that you will have to send a requisition to Civil Practice Court admin unit. So let’s see if I can find you a requisition. So there you go, a requisition to attend Civil Practice Court. I have already opened this form, let’s look at it. You complete this form; you check the boxes that apply. It’s requisition. Whether it’s an Urgent Hearing, Long Motion, you check those boxes and provide the court file number, estimate the time and all of that. And then you complete this form and you send it to [email protected] or you use their fax number and you send it to them.

So step number one as I said is that you send your completed requisition form.

Step number two, you inform all the parties that are a part of your case that Civil Practice requisition has been sent, and if you get an appointment you advise them of what the appointment date is. Then on the date of the actual attendance you can attend C.P.C. by attending by video or phone or you can attend in person. So if you want to attend by video or phone there is a website called CourtCall.com, I believe I have it open and let me show you. So this is the website CourtCall.com. It is a third party website, but you will see here, if you click on this link you will notice which of the Ontario and U.S. courts are the participating courts for CourtCall.

What is the beauty of this CourtCall? It’s that you can attend Civil Practice Court and maybe other matters, but specifically Civil Practice Court by video or audio from your house, from your office, and you don’t need to physically go to court. For it self represented litigants, this service is provided for free. For lawyers it’s a $65 charge per attendance. So it’s a very useful service because you don’t need to physically come to the court. And you can attend and there is no harm in not attending in person, the judges recognize the issues that they deal with at C.P.C. all the time, and so they understand that just because you are not physically present any chances of oral advocacy would not be diminished in any way. So make sure you benefit from this Civil Court Call system.

Or you can attend in person, and then when you are there you want to, when it’s your turn, you look at your number, when it’s your turn you’ll be called and you very briefly explain to the judge what is your case about. The judge will listen to it and then the judge will assign you an appropriate date based upon your case, based upon the timeline and whatnot.

So you have to, when you attend, there’s one important thing that you must take with you and it’s called a timetable. You need to carry a timetable with you; hopefully having consulted with other parties and then created the timetable. Let me see if I can show you a timetable that I’ve already pulled up. And this is also in the Practice Direction, there’s a link for that. You open that timetable you put in the information about your case and then there are different steps that may be necessary with respect to cross-examination, applicant factum and whatnot. So all these steps are listed and make sure that you have agreed to or at least prepared a timetable for the judge, so the judge can understand what needs to be done prior to the motion.

So you take all of that, and the point about explaining the case about it, you’re not there to argue your case. You are there basically to explain to the judge what the case is about, in maybe three sentences if you can, but not more than five sentences if I can say that. And the judge will get it, and then judge will understand what needs to be done, you’re not arguing your case.

So for instance if you’re bringing a Summary Judgment motion for a Wrongful Dismissal matter, you can simply say, “Your Honor of this is a Wrongful Dismissal case where the only dispute is about the amount of Reasonable Notice,” and that would be sufficient. So can anyone explain to the judge, the judge may have some questions and then the judge will grant you a time alongside a timetable that the judge finds is appropriate.

Now with respect to time with attendances C.P.C. in Toronto sits on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays of every week, but I believe in summer, which is July and August I believe, for the next two months, it’s Tuesdays and Fridays. So you want to make sure that you know when and on what days does the Civil Practice Court sit, it’s not every day. Remember that it starts at 8:30, it doesn’t start at 10:00, you want to be logged in if you’re attending by phone or video, or be present there before 8:30AM so that you can check in.

You want to keep in mind that when you requisition, I know from experience in Civil Practice Court Toronto that if I send a requisition today I’m looking at two to three months’ timeline to attend C.P.C., not to have my motion heard, but just to attend. So the court is that busy, so you want to think ahead when you are booking for C.P.C. If you think that you’ll have to bring a motion which is going to be too long or are more two hours or more later down the line, you may want to book for C.P.C. sooner than waiting for that time.

So some of the things that you want to keep in mind is the timelines – how long does it take for you to get to C.P.C. When you get to C.P.C. when do you expect to get a motion date? And if it’s a motion or an application, generally speaking you’re looking at at least three or four months ahead of that, ahead of the day that you attend C.P.C., to get your motion. So you want to be careful and make sure that you are watching the timelines. Then you want to watch the timelines for the steps, for the remaining steps in C.P.C.

So for instance once your motion is booked you attend C.P.C. the judge gives you a date, you have that date, 30 days prior to that date you want to confirm to C.P.C. that you are still going to proceed with that motion; it is essential, because if you don’t do you may end up being in trouble and may end up even losing your date. So you want to be careful that 30 days prior to your actual motion you confirm with C.P.C. what’s happening with your case. Because a lot of times a lot of matters do get sorted out or get settled and the court needs to know that. You also want to keep in mind that you have only gotten a date from C.P.C. There are a number of other steps that you have to take. For instance if it’s a motion or an application you have to pay the court fee, you have to serve the Notice of Motion, the Motion Record and whatnot. And those steps I have covered in my other lectures with respect to motion scheduling, so you can review that. But you want to make sure that you do not, you have put in that much time and effort to get to C.P.C. to get a date for the motion, you don’t want to lose that date just because you missed a step. So this is important, the court’s extremely busy, and you don’t want to miss a step and then lose your scheduling time, so be careful about that.

Hopefully this gives you a sense of what a Civil Practice Court is, how can you benefit from it.

One point quickly with respect to the Urgent Matters, so let’s say if you have an Urgent Matter and as I said if you have to requisition a C.P.C. you will get two or three months ahead of time, so your matter is urgent. So essentially what you can do is, one way is that you just prepare your requisition form and then show up in the morning at C.P.C. court and then asked to be heard by the judge on an urgent basis and the judge will accommodate you; or you can go up to the 10th floor on 393 University and see a Civil Practice Court scheduling clerk or the admin staff or call them, and then tell them that you have an urgent matter that needs to be dealt with, and then they will accommodate you in the schedule in a C.P.C.

So just sending that e-mail or fax and hoping that it will be scheduled urgently in C.P.C. may not work, so you may need to take some extra steps to call the court, to go there physically. I actually for my last attendance where I needed an urgent motion, I actually physically went to the to the clerk and requested that I need to be accommodated, and I was accommodated for the very next C.P.C. appointment. So you want to make sure that you follow all those steps and take extra steps if your matter is urgent.

So hopefully this gives you a sense of the Civil Practice Court in Toronto. If you any questions or comments please contact us and we look forward to seeing you in the next lecture. Thank you for watching.

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