Negotiating Employment Contracts in Canada – 5 Things You Must Know [video]

January 11th, 2019

Full-time employment with one company for your entire life is no longer a reality. Most Canadians will go through at least 7 to 9 jobs in their lifetime. Therefore, understanding what goes in your employment contract is essential. This lecture explains in easy terms five basic things you must know about negotiating an employment contract.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. Today, we’ll talk about negotiating employment contracts. Back in our parents’ time, you may recall that you would get hired with one company, and you will work for that company for the rest of your life, and you will retire from there. Those days have long gone, there was a study that I came across a few years ago, that suggested that an average Canadian will go through about 7 to 9 different jobs in their life time, and that was a few years ago, and that has changed significantly even in the last, you know, few years. Because of the advancement in technology, and the concept of full time employment for the entire life is no longer valid. So, therefore this topic is crucial, it’s fundamental for many, many employees to understand how to negotiate that employment contract.

Before we begin, the usual disclaimer, that this course is not legal advice so, if you have any specific questions, you must contact a lawyer or paralegal.

So we’ll start with point number 1, should you negotiate employment contracts or not? And I’ve given you one reason at the outset that you will be going through several employments in your lifetime, so obviously there is a reason that you should negotiate. But there is another basic fact that you must understand, and that’s the basic purpose of an employment contract. The basic purpose of employment contract is to protect employer’s interest. That is the core reason why an employer gives thousands of dollars to a lawyer to have that contract drafted. The employee’s interest that a lot laid out in an employment contract are really subsidiary to that, but the fundamental reason why an employment contract is drafted and is put in writing, and it has so many clauses in it is really to protect employers business and employers own interest. So, this is the most important reason why you should worry about what goes in that employment contract.

Now the second question arises, can you negotiate an employment contract? Can you? When you are at the receiving end, you are just a small employee, you are being hired by a multinational company, a large bank, and oftentimes, when they provide you with a job offer, and if you ask any questions or raise any concerns the answer will be, this is our standard employment offer and take it or leave it kind-of-impression that you get. But you can absolutely negotiate employment contracts, and this is something that we’re going to talk about today.

There is a smart way to do that, there is a smart way to negotiate employment contracts, and so in our future lectures we will talk about how do you negotiate. Negotiation is a skill, it is an art of its own and so there’s a smart way to do it or you can be very direct about it and tell the employer that these terms are not agreeable to you and you want different terms. But I’ll give you without getting into detail, give you 2 scenarios in which you can negotiate and what are the ways to do that.

So number 1 is when you have no employment contract. So, you’re unemployed this is the first job you’re getting and you’re excited about it and this is your first contract, he even in those cases you are able to go back to the employer and ask for certain changes in the employment contract terms whether it’s salary, whether it’s bonus, whether it’s sign up bonus, whether it’s more vacation, anything that you may want to negotiate, generally you’re able to negotiate that. But, if it’s your first contract, and you’re sheepish about going back to the employer and asking for something else, then by all means accept the employment contract, sign on the dotted line and then that puts you in a situation where you now have an employment, you are employed. So, now you are in a position literally for the second contract to negotiate the terms that you want because you already have employment, you’re working for a company, you’re getting paid, so there’s no sort of fire that is causing you to sort of run out and look for a job. You actually go for a job that is appropriate for you, that you believe provides the benefits and remuneration that you deserve. And It’s a second contract that makes employers negotiate even in the first contract. Because employers understand that if they do not enter into a reasonable equitable relationship with that employee the employee will leave, and so therefore for both of these reasons, I believe that you absolutely can negotiate employment contracts, and you must.

And I’ll give you an example from my own practice, I mean in the last 10 years or so, I have advised many, many clients on negotiating their contracts, most of them have been able to get something added to their contract because of the negotiation, and sometimes they couldn’t and they accepted whatever the offer was made to them and moved on and looked for another job that will provide something better. And in 10 years, there was only 1 case where this was my long standing employee, and her and I had negotiated several contracts, and she got a job offer from a multinational company making inroads in Canada, for a very senior sales position. And I suggested that there should be certain changes and she, very, very politely, put out an email saying that she reviewed the employment contract with a lawyer, and there are a few things that she wanted to discuss, and the employer simply withdrew the offer which was quite shocking to us. I’ve never experienced that she had never experience in our lifetime. But that was the only example where the employer simply withdrew the offer and we don’t know why, it could have been because she wanted to discuss, or could be for some other reason. But 2 years down the line, she called me and she said she was so happy that she had not accepted that offer because that employer was now unwinding all of its operations in Canada and every single employee across Canada was losing his or her job.

So going back to yes, you can negotiate, and you must negotiate, and you should not really worry about the consequences, because if your employer really wants you for that position, then they will come to terms which are just and fair for you in that employment relationship, but you’ll have to ask for it.

Now, what’s the single most important thing that you want to negotiate? And so there’s one thing that you must negotiate in an employment contract, what is it? Is it your salary? And the common answer will be yes, I want to make sure that I get properly paid and my salary is what markets suggest or what I salary is what I am hoping for. My answer is no, the single most important thing you want to negotiate in your employment contract, is your termination clause. Yes, what happens to you when you lose that job, when you are terminated, that’s the single most important thing you want to negotiate?

So, what is the best termination clause? I’ll briefly talk about it, we will have a separate lecture on termination clauses. But what I can tell you from the outset in this lecture, is that the best termination clause is no terminations clause whatsoever. So, if you have an employment contract that does not talk about termination whatsoever, awesome, that’s amazing. You don’t want to go back and say hey there’s no termination clause, I want you to put one! No, no, no! If you’re an employee and there’s no terminations clause in the job offer, that’s amazing, why? Because you get Common Law Rights on terminations, you get Reasonable Notice of Termination, and what is that? We have a lecture on that, and kindly of check it out, and it will explain to you what Common Law Reasonable Notice is. But in essence, what it means is your termination rights are highest when you have no terminations clause in the majority of cases.

What is the second important thing or point number 4? Is now should you know negotiate salary? Because that would sound right, because you’ve got a termination clause locked in and now you want to worry about your salary and my answer is, no. The second most important thing, is the Post Termination Clause. What is a Post Termination Clause? Post Termination Clause is a clause obviously of what happens to you after you’re terminated. So, this clause indicates things that you cannot do, even after your employment has ended. So, that’s important. So, in employment contracts, some of the examples are Non-Competition Clause, Non Solicitation Clause, and all of these are called restrictive covenants, and there could be a variety of those clauses. So, the lesson you want to keep, is that in an employment contract, there are things that you can and cannot do during the length of your employment, but you can have an employment contract that has clauses about things that you cannot do even after your employment has ended. So, you’re not getting paid, you’re not getting salary from that employer any more, yet you are not allowed to do certain things. So, very, very important for you to understand that, and we’ll have separate lectures on all of these clauses.

Now come to Remuneration, and their idea of things that you want to make sure you negotiate. Obviously salary, bonus structure, commissions – if you’re entitled to it – benefits and all of that.

So in summary, the lesson that you want to keep that it is essential, is that you want to negotiate your employment contract. Why? Because we said that you may end up having 7 or more jobs in your lifetime, and you want to make sure that what you understand and negotiate what happens during those employments, and what you are allowed or not allowed to do after those employments.

But another thing that you want to understand, is what’s happening in this day and age, is full time employment is really going out of the door and what’s happening is, employers are hiring employees for individual tasks. So, employment is getting out of the door, tasks are coming in, which is the concept of having independent contractors. So, if you are going to be hired by an employer to do certain tasks, and you may end up having to work for multiple employers at the same time, you absolutely want to make sure that you understand what is the employment contract or the independent contractor agreement that you’re signing with that employer, and you want to make sure that you negotiate those items in your benefit. So, hopefully this was helpful, this is a very, very broad topic, very detailed, very complex topic. We’ll have many more lectures on this, but hopefully this gives you a basic sense of why you should negotiate employment contracts and what are some of the basic terms.

Ask us questions, contact us by e-mail, by comments on the YouTube channel, and we’ll be happy to add more information in the future lectures. Thanks for watching.

Protecting Termination Rights for Boomers – 3 Things You Must Know [video]

January 11th, 2019

Restructuring of companies has a significant adverse impact on the employment of baby boomers. How do boomers protect and preserve their termination rights? This lecture provides three simple answers.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. Today, we’ll talk about terminations rights for boomers and 3 things that you must know if you are a baby boomer. I was specifically asked to cover this topic by some of my clients, who fall into this category, and they thought it would help other baby boomers in the future. But the principles that I talk about in this lecture equally apply to people of different ages as well, so you can benefit from this regardless of whether you’re a baby boomer or not.

We’ll start with a disclaimer that this course is not legal advice if you have any specific questions you must contact a lawyer or paralegal.

So, most of the termination letters that you will find these days, they will indicate that to an employee that Joe or Mary, your employment is being terminated without cause due to business restructuring or corporate restructuring. That’s a very common reason for dismissal these days, and so what on earth is this restructuring? Restructuring is a very simple concept in business, and essentially what it means, is to make certain changes to the business so that the business becomes more sustainable and more profitable, that’s essentially what a restructuring means. And so restructuring could be done in a variety of ways, for example, you can come up with new ideas, new innovations, you can change your business model, and you can create processes which are more efficient, so on and so forth. But one of the elements of restructuring is relating to employment law and that is what I’m going to talk about today. You will notice that the easiest way to restructure a business and make it a bit more profitable or sustainable or make it look profitable, is to reduce the business expenses, and when you’re looking at business expenses, if you are dependent on a large number of employees, then employees become an easy target for a restructuring. If you reduce the workforce, or you make the workforce cheaper, then you will be easily able to show that the business is doing well, so that is sort of the one of the easiest ways of restructuring, and actually the most common one.

There are 3 ways that restructuring is commonly done in Canada, and one example is outsourcing work or off shoring work, which is the most common one, and I’m sure everyone of you is familiar with that. The idea is that if you’re paying $80,000 to someone in Canada to do a job and if you can hire someone across the world somewhere else, and pay that person $10,000 for the same job, then the math is straightforward and the answer is simple, eliminate that job and pass it on to the person who lives elsewhere. So, that’s outsourcing, offshoring and it’s been going on for a while. The other option, is that you replace that worker with another or reduce the work force or a combination of both. And this is essentially replacing that worker with another human worker, and the example of that could be, that again the employee who’s been there for 20 years makes $80,000, and then why not find somebody who you can hire for $40,000, half the salary, half the age, 25 years old, and maybe able to work twice as much, 20 hours a day, 18 hours a day. So, that’s sort of one-way of changing the workforce, and then reducing it. Obviously, because if you’re making the new employee work for 2 employees previously, then you’re already reducing the work. And then the third way, is that why be dependent on human being at all, and just replace the human with a machine, whether it’s an artificial intelligence, whether it’s a robot or whatever machine or software that you want to use to replace or reduce that human element and you could do that. So, as you can see all 3 of these factors, all 3 ways of restructuring affect all of us, regardless of our age, regardless of our position, regardless of our expertise. But item number 2 that I’m talking about, replacing reducing with another has a significant impact on the aging population and baby boomers, and this may impact them more than any other category of people. And so I want to talk about that a bit more today and explain that. And I can tell you that outsourcing, offshoring, has been around for a long time and there has been a lot of criticism on it, and there is a general trend overallm at least in the western world, to sort of reduce the outsourcing offshoring, if you’re familiar with the political environment these days. So, what I believe is an employment lawyer is that the number 2 is going to continue to be on the rise, because it’s easier to justify, to say that I’m a Canadian company or we’re a Canadian company and 1000% of our workforce is Canadian and nothing is offshore, but then, what you have done is you have replaced or reduced the workforce by someone half the age, half the income, and twice the hours. So, that’s sort of what I believe is on the rise and is happening more frequently than people understand. So, if you’re a baby boomer, you’re falling into this category, and I can tell you the way I see the Employment Law world, I’ve been practicing for 10 years and I’m constantly seeing this kind of restructuring. I can tell you with certain assurance, that if you are a baby boomer, your employment is absolutely on the chopping block in the near future, because of this approach towards restructuring.

So, that the issue is then simple for an employer, it get rid of that employee hire somebody half the age, half the value in terms of money and then make the person work twice as hard, but there’s a problem. And the problem for the employer, is that in Canadian law employees have rights on terminations, and one of the significant right on terminations, is getting reasonable notice or termination rights, and I’ve spoken about this in a separate lecture and quite detail. If you’re unclear about this concept, then by all means check those lectures.

So, what does that mean? I’ll give you example, in terms of monetary values, if you have an employee baby boomer who’s been working for 20 years, 50 years old, makes $80,000, then if you have to let go of that person on the basis of providing a reasonable notice, then potentially you may have to spend $160,000 plus to get rid of that employees, so that’s a large amount of money, and if you have to let go of a number of people, then that cost could be millions of dollars. So, an employer who’s trying to save costs, who is trying to save money, would really not like to spend that much money in letting go an employee. So what do you do as an employer to save that kind of money? And you know all kinds of solutions are devised to sort of go around that problem, and I’m going to go through the most common 3 solutions.

Number 1 is revised contracts. So, what I mean by that and I’ve seen this happening, it’s not something that happens elsewhere in the world and not in Canada. And in this situation, when the employer realizes that they want to let go, a person and his or her entitlement, is significant and hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes what they will do is, they will try to revise a contract either by increasing that employee’s salary abate or changing the employment duties abate, somehow making certain changes, and in that new contract, the employer will sneak in a terminations clause, which will limit the employee’s terminations right significantly. So, I can give you an example in Ontario, if that new contract puts in a termination clause that says, if we terminate your employment, your entitlement on termination is limited to what’s stated in Employment Standards Act 2000, then that means that this employee who was there for 20 years, making $80,000, who could have been entitled to $160,000 based on now the application of the Employment Standards Act, may only get 2 months of pay, two weeks of pay, it’s like a significant reduction in the termination rights. So, that’s sort of one way that the employer may go around this problem of providing reasonable notice and revise the contract. So, if you are faced with that kind of situation you have to be alert.

The other approach is again pretty simple, why don’t we make the employee leave? Because if the employee leaves, the employee resigns, then he or she is not entitled to any reasonable notice, it’s resignation, so there’s no severance payment that is triggered by resignation. And so, some of the ways, the employer will do it, and I can tell you, I have corporate clients and they don’t do these kind of things, and I would never you know advise them to do these things, but it is not to say that this doesn’t happen. This happens enough that I am putting this in a lecture and I’m saying that you have to be watchful of these things. So make the employee leave, so create an environment, a poisonous environment for the employee, start criticizing him, start harassing him on benign things, making just his day miserable or her day miserable on an ongoing basis to the point that the employee just can’t stand it, and decides to leave the workforce or resigns, and then you don’t have to pay any reasonable notice or any severance or termination pay.

And then the third approach is, if the employee is still not leaving, then you start attacking the employee’s performance. So, what that means is start documenting, start issuing warning notices to employee, saying that he or she is not performing up to the required standards, maybe put the employee on performance improvement plan things like that. So, the employer does starting to build a record, so that it can use that record to maybe justify a dismissal for cause and in a dismissal for cause, the employee is not entitled to any terminations or severance pay. So these are some of the 3 solutions that the employer may try to impose to reduce its obligations on termination from $160,000 in that example to literally bringing it down to 10 to $15,000 or 0. So is that legal? Of course not. If an employer is doing any of these things, there is a legal issue, obviously in Canada, because we have certain laws that protect the employees.

So 2 legal issues arise from this kind of behavior, one is obviously discrimination and in Ontario, we have the Human Rights Code, which prevents discrimination on the basis on a number of grounds, age being one of them. So if you are in a situation, or if you notice that an employee is being discriminated because of his or her age, and these are the actions that the employer is instituting to either terminate the employee or to put him or her in a position that the employee leaves, then it could be an issue of discrimination. And the second issue is the larger issue of Bad Faith Conduct. Obviously, if an employer is putting these kind of plans into action this is a bad faith behavior to curtail your lawful obligations towards that employee. So, obviously, this kind of conduct can give rise to legal issues, if you are alert to it and if you are keeping track of what’s going on with you, so that’s why this lecture is important, and you need to protect yourself so that’s the key thing that if you’re in a workforce, if you’re in a workplace where you expect that any of these things may happen or you start noticing changes that are unusual, then you want to protect yourself.

So I can give you 3 suggestions to keep in mind, number 1 is document document, document. I cannot emphasize enough that if you started noticing changes in your workplace that are not positive, either it’s unnecessary criticism of your work performance or anything else that you think is unusual, you start documenting. And the way you document, it is not documented on your work computer, but you document it at home and on your personal computer, and you keep evidence. If there are documents, memos, or e-mails that prove your case, then you want to keep records of that because you would need those if you are terminated. The second part of that I want to emphasize, is that if your performance is being criticized improperly and unfairly, you want to dissent, you must raise the issue in writing, I would prefer in writing, but if not in writing, orally or in meetings, that you do not agree to the performance issues that are being raised. Because if you don’t dissent, if you don’t raise the issue, then by conduct by not raising it may be consider that you agreed to those criticisms, so you must dissent if there is a performance issue being raised against you. And then the third thing, the larger part of that you want to keep an eye on, is what’s happening to other employees? And you would realize, let’s say, if you notice that there was a wave of terminations that took place and you see a theme there, you see a common element that majority of the older employees have been picked for termination, then you can gather that information, you can write down their names so that you can use that as evidence to indicate that there may have been an age discrimination going on in the workplace. So you want to keep your eyes open and see what’s happening to other employees in your workplace, so that you can gather that information and use it if you need to.

So, these are at least 3 things that you can do to ensure that you can protect your rights on termination, and if you look, if you’re faced with an employment contract or a new employment contract, you must not agree to it unless you review it with an employment lawyer to make sure that you’re not giving away your significant rights on termination. So hopefully, this was helpful for the for the boomers and for other people whose workplaces maybe going through employment restructuring, and you want to guard yourself and protect your rights on termination. If you want us to address a specific topic, please send us an email or put comments on YouTube, and we’ll be happy to add those in the next lecture. Thank you for watching.

Motions in Ontario Civil Courts – For Beginners [video]

January 8th, 2019

This lecture explains the basic concept of a motion in a civil proceeding: what is a motion, when do you bring one, common types of motions, how motions are heard, etc.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. We will talk about Motions in Ontario Civil Courts today, and we will provide some basic concepts about what is a motion, when do you bring it, and what’s its purpose and role. The main principles that we’ll cover today apply to any kind of motion that you may bring whether in a civil court, whether in federal court, or in any other court in Ontario or across Canada, but in the end, we will cover some specific rules that apply to motions in Ontario. So, the concepts are pretty broad for anyone to understand what a motion is.

As always, we begin with the disclaimer, that this course is not legal advice so, if you have any specific questions, you must contact a lawyer or a paralegal.

Our discussions today will include what is a motion? What are some of the common types of motion? Who do you bring the motion before? What our party’s position is different kind of positions parties take with respect to a motion? And we’ll talk about methods of hearing a motion, and documents that you may need to produce or provide or submit to others parties in a motion. And then briefly what kind of rules relate to a motion.

So first, we want you to understand what is a motion? A motion is really a party going to the court and asking for a direction, a ruling, or a specific order on a specific issue before trial. So, it’s kind of mini hearing before the trial on some specific issues. So, the definition is very broad and I want you to understand clearly the broadness of this definition of motion. Because motion is a great tool that allows you to get so many orders or directions from the court, that are not ordinarily covered in the process from filing a claim to a trial. And so I think one way to explain what a motion is, is by giving you some examples of the kinds of motions parties bring, and that will give you an understanding of what a motion really is.

So one example is Noting in Default, Production of Documents, setting down timetable, summary judgments, setting aside varying or amending court orders.

So, Noting in Default is an important motion and so, in this situation for instance, you are the plaintiff, you commenced the court action and the defendant failed or refused to file their Statement of Defense or failed or refused to respond to the Statement of Claim, and you now have the option to note the defendant in default. So, this is an important motion, in the sense that you bring the motion, you have the defendant noted in default, that will allow you to proceed and get a default judgment against the defendant. Or whatever next steps that you may take. Now the defendant doesn’t need to know what steps you are taking, because the defendant has been noted in default, the defendant has refused to attend or participate in the court process, that’s one kind of motion.

Another motion is Production of Documents. In Production of Documents for instance, at some point you realize that the opposing side has certain documents in its possession that are relevant to the issues in your case, but for whatever reason they have failed or refused to produce those documents. You can bring a motion in court and ask the court to issue an order to compel that party to produce those documents. Production of Documents motion can also apply to third parties, where parties that have certain documents that are relevant to your case, those parties are not parties to the claim or the defense. They’re not defendants, they’re not third party defendants in the case, but they are parties outside of the court process, yet, you can obtain a court order through a motion and compel those parties to produce those documents.

Setting down timetable is an example when your court action is not proceeding in a timely manner under the Rules of Civil Procedure. The defendant is engaging in certain delaying tactics and you want to compel the defendant to follow certain timetables, so your matter, your action can proceed efficiently towards trial. You can actually bring a motion in the court, and then have a timetable set down, and ask the court to issue that order, which will compel the defendant or other parties to follow that timetable.

Another example is a Motion for Summary Judgment. A Summary Judgment Motion is quite an important motion; it can resolve at times the entire issue, the entire case, without even going to trial. So, there are limited ways in which you can bring a summary judgment motion, but it’s an effective tool and you do it through a motion.

Finally, setting aside, varying or amending a court order. Let’s say there was an order issued by a court with respect to certain matters in your court action. And you disagree with that court order or you need to amend it or vary it in anyway or set aside it, you’ll have to bring a motion to have that particular order set aside or amended.

So these are some of the common types, there are many, many more kinds of motions. The idea that you want to keep in mind, is that anything that is not covered in the normal course of your action, and you need to get a specific order from a court, you will have to bring a motion, get that order and only then, you will be able to get those things done. So, you are asking the court to give you direction on a specific issue, whether to make a party do something or stop a party from doing something, and then you bring that motion by way of a motion.

Who do you bring the motion before in Ontario in civil court, you generally have 3 options. You can bring a motion before a registrar, you can bring a motion before a master, or you can bring a motion before a judge. A judge has the overall power to answer to any kind of motion, but masters and registrars have specific jurisdictions. There are specific issues that a registrar or a master can deal with, and there are specific rules and the Rules of Civil Procedure that provide that jurisdiction to a registrar a master. So, you must know before commencing your motion whom should you bring the motion before, should it be before a judge, a master, or a registrar.

And keep in mind, that a motion that ought to be brought before a master should not be brought before a judge; and similarly a motion that ought to be brought before a registrar should not be brought before a master or a judge. And we have a separate lecture already available on this in terms of the difference between the powers of a master and a judge, by all means check that out.

Now Party’s Position. What I want you to understand, is that there are fundamentally 2 ways a motion can be brought. Number 1 is Ex-Parte motion, meaning that you are the only party who is bringing that motion, attending that motion and the circumstances are, such that you don’t need to serve the motion material the notice of motion on any other party, so it’s Ex Parte. And there are specific circumstances in which you can bring an Ex Parte motion and you must meet those circumstances.

A majority of the motions are brought on notice, meaning that all parties to that action know they have been served with a notice of motion the specific document that you will be bringing this motion on such and such date. And so, when a motion is brought on notice, there are usually 3 kinds of party’s positions on it.

Number 1 is On Consent, so you have brought a motion on notice where all parties are consenting, are agreeing to what you are asking the court to do, and that and that’s not uncommon. You may need a specific direction from the court to do certain things or a make a party do certain things, but that party requires a court order. And they are agreeing to the fact that you can ask the order on consent, and so you can have a motion on consent.

Another position the parties can take, is unopposed. Unopposed is slightly different than On Consent obviously. On Consent, the parties agreeing to what you’re asking, and in unopposed position, the party is basically saying we’re not taking a position, we’re not opposing this motion, but we’re not saying that you should provide it, so let the judge, let the court decide how they want to give an order on that specific motion.

And finally, there could be motions contested. So, you are asking a certain order from a court, but the other party or parties are opposing it, and so you have a contested motion, which in most circumstances is the case.

Okay, how are motions heard? There are basically 2 ways, a motion could be in writing, and in motion, could be heard orally. There are a number of straightforward motions that are done in writing, even the contested motions in some circumstances can be done in writing, and then majority of the contested motions, opposed motions, are done orally before a master or a judge.

There are some specific documents that you would need, and these documents are referred to in the rules, the most important one is notice of motion. You prepare this document, you serve it on the other parties, and you file it with the court, and then whatever supporting evidence law, legal, or factual that you need to rely on to get the order that you’re looking for, you need to provide those. And in some circumstances, you will have to prepare and serve a Factum. A Factum is really your legal argument in writing, and there are specific rules about that. In some motions, you don’t need to a Factum, but in majority of cases,` you may need a factum with your documents.

There are 2 fundamental legislations in Ontario now, this is specific to Ontario Civil Courts, the Courts of Justice Act and Rules of Civil Procedure that deal with the issues of motion and any of the procedural matters. With respect to the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rule 37 is the specific rule that deals with motions. You must review that rule before your proceeding, and also you must review any practice directions for your region for your municipality, so that you know how the motions are brought in that specific region and how they are heard.

Rule 76 is another rule, which is called the simplified rules and it has its own rules about bringing a motion, so you must review those rules. And we will in future lectures go through each rules, go through different types of motion, but this lecture is really to give you a broad overview of what a motion is, and what is the concept of a motion.

Small claims court has its own rules, and you can review the small claims court rules to understand how the motion is to be brought in the small claims court.

Okay, so in essence, you know if you use a motion effectively, the motion allows you to resolve some procedural issues, that’s important, or at times narrow down the issues, and in some circumstances, completely resolve the issues. So, if a motion is used effectively, it can save you significant time and significant cost. It’s a great tool, but it has to be used smartly, and it allows you to benefit from the overall court process in an effective way. Hopefully, this gives you a good sense of what a motion is, the basic concept, and then, in our future lectures, we’ll pick each kind of motion, we’ll talk about what that motion is, what are the circumstances and we’ll keep building on this basic knowledge about motion.

Please do write us back in the comments section on YouTube, or through any of these channels that we have listed, and we’ll be happy to answer questions, and provide more information in the future lectures, thank you for watching.

Statement of Defense in a Civil Action in Ontario – Basics for Beginners [video]

January 8th, 2019

We have provided a series of lecture on the topic of commencing a civil action in Ontario. This lecture specifically deals with drafting and service of a statement of defence and explains the basic concepts in an easy-to-understand language.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

N/A

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. Today, we’ll talk about drafting a Statement of Defense in a civil court action in Ontario, and the example that we’re providing in this lecture is very basic, very simple, so that you could understand the fundamental concept of a statement of defense and how do you go about serving and filing it. We have already talked in previous lectures about how do you commence a court action a civil court action in Ontario in the Superior Court of Justice, we have covered some basic steps. We also have provided a lecture on drafting statements of claim, that is also there. We also have done another lecture on completing the information for court use form, which is also a step. So, today we are going on the other side of the situation, where we’re dealing with the defendant, once the defendant has been served with a statement of claim, what he or she has to do in order to defend himself?

We begin with a disclaimer, that this course is not legal advice, so if you have any specific questions, you should contact a lawyer or a legal professional.

And we’ll start with the basic example that we had used in other lectures, the case that we prepared was Mary had loaned $100,000 to John. John has refused to pay back that money and then Mary has gone to the court to seek a judgment against John for $100,000. We have also mentioned previously that there are 2 specific legislations, at least these 2, that are very important for you to review, because these relate to the procedural aspects of your court action and you need to know various steps, the timelines, the process, to properly defend yourself. Both of these are available online, we have referred them previously, we have shown you what these legislation look like and what kind of information they contain, so by all means check those lectures.

Now, we begin with the fact that, what if you did would you decide not to defend a court action? And you may have some legitimate reasons, legal reasons for not defending a court action and we’re not really covering, you know, all of those things, this lecture is not exhaustive or any of these lectures are not exhaustive, we’re covering the basic topics. So, for example, you may challenge, one of the reasons, you may not want to defend the court action, is you challenge the jurisdiction of the Ontario Court. You may believe that whatever Mary is claiming, whatever the facts, she is claiming, never happened in Ontario. Ontario has no relationship to it. It either should have been in another province or another country, and in that case, rather than defending you, bring a motion to have the matter dismissed, because of jurisdictional issues and whatnot. But we’re not covering those issues. Let’s say you are in a situation where you just don’t want to defend it for whatever reason. You think Mary has no case, you’re upset and you decide not to file defense or not to take any action, what are the consequences? Mary can go bring a motion in court and have you Noted in Default, Noting in Default means the court is now putting in its document that John has not served and filed his Statement of Defense so he has not taken the step that he was required to take in order to defend himself, so you have been Noted in Default. The consequence of having Noted in Default, is that you will no longer be entitled to any notices, any steps in that court action anymore because you’re not participating, so you’re not entitled to anything, so you wouldn’t know what further steps Mary is taking in that court process.

And then Mary can go and proceed with a motion for default judgment, and what that means is, Mary will say that no defense has been filed, so the judge award me $100,000 judgment against John, because that’s what I’ve claimed and she may very well get that judgment, and then she can proceed and have that judgment enforced against John. So ideally, if you have been served with the statement of claim, you really don’t have much option then to defend yourself, no matter how strongly you believe that the case has no merits. Because, only a court, only a judge in this matter can decide whether the case has merits or not, and so even if you find that this action is a nuisance for you, you have no option but to defend it.

First thing, you want to keep in mind is the timeline, that’s the most important part, because if you miss the timelines, then Mary can take those steps such as noting you in default and proceeding with a default judgment. So the timeline for filing of Statement of Defense is dependent upon where the statement of claim was served on you, and if you, in the previous lecture, Statement of Claim, we showed you the document, the Statement of Claim document, and you will see on the very first page of the Statement of Claim, the court has already provided some information to you, the defendant saying what are the timelines that you have available to you. And in that document, it does say that if you were served with a claim in Ontario, this being an Ontario claim, you have 20 days to file your defense. If you were served and not in Ontario, but elsewhere in Canada, or in the United States, you have 40 days, and if you were served outside of Canada and the US, then you have 60 days to file your defense. So where you are served is important, and you want to make sure that you note down the timeline for your filing of Defense.

Second point, you want to keep in mind is that your 20 days, 40 days, 60 days, whatever the case may be, begins from the date when you were served with a claim, it has nothing to do with the date of the issuance. Issuance is the date when the claim was issued, we’re talking about when you would actually served either by fax or in person or whichever way you received the statement of claim, your counting of days begins from there. Now, one more thing, you want to keep in mind is that there is a form of available online Rules of Civil Procedure form Cause Notice of Intent to Defend. If you fill out that form, serve it on the opposing side the plaintiff, file it with the court with the proper fees, then it adds 10 more days to your time or filing of defense. So if its 20 days that become 30 days, 40 becomes 50, and 60 and 70 days. So you can get 10 additional days if you file a notice of intent, but you must file it within the time period. So, if you had received 20 days within Ontario, then within 20 days you have to serve and file a Notice of Intent to Defend, in order to get another 10 days.

Now, let’s get into the steps that you are required to undertake to prepare and serve and file your statement of defense. The steps are basic, you download the form statement of defense, you draft your statement of defense, you serve it on the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s lawyer as the case may be, you prepare an affidavit of service, which is a document basically confirming to the court that you have actually served the defense on the plaintiff. Then, you print 2 copies of the statement of defense, you take your affidavit of service the original and take the court fees, and then go and file it with the court, and that’s how you are now in the court system, you get a stamped copy back, which indicates that you have filed your statement of defense.

Okay, so statement of Defense is an important document, what’s the purpose of a statement of defense? Essentially you are asking the opposite of what Mary is asking. So Mary is asking the court essentially, that the court should award a judgment against you for a $100,000. You are asking the court that the court should dismiss Mary’s claim in its totality or partially, whatever your position is, because Mary’s claim has no merit. So, that’s what you want out of the court, you want the court to dismiss Mary’s claim. And then why do you want the court to dismiss it, that’s your side of the story, you provide your facts to explain to the court or prove to the court or demonstrate that Mary’s claim has no merits.

So, what are the contents of statement of defense? The principles for these contents are no different than the principles that I had outlined and drafting of the Statement of Claim. You want to make sure that you describe facts in your statement of Defense, not evidence, you don’t need to talk about, you know, the email correspondence and quote the email correspondence or text messages. You’re basically providing a summary of facts, in terms of what actually happened. With respect to evidence, you will have an opportunity later in the court process to actually provide all evidence and obtain all the evidence from the other side. But for the purposes of statement of defense, you’re only providing facts. You want to make sure that your statements are concise, you’re not telling lengthy stories, your narrative this concise and simple, you want to make sure that you mention only relevant facts, irrelevant facts should not be part of the statement of defense and facts that are material. Material facts are those that actually when proven true, support your position, support your position in this case that Mary is not entitled to the money she is claiming. You must put each allegation in a separate paragraph. Allegation is generally used for every single fact that you are stating in your claim or in your defense, they’re all called allegations generally and in this process. So, each allegation is in a separate paragraph, and then you want to make sure that he’s paragraph is numbered consecutively.

The applicable rules that we have covered in here are no different than what we have covered in a Statement of Claim, the Rules of Civil Procedure Rules 25 to 29 that deal with pleading, Rule 18.01 deals with the service, and then Rule 26 deals with the amendments.

So, we have already shown you the rules of civil procedure, you just go on Google type in “Rules of Civil Procedure”, and then you get the rules of civil procedure, here you can check the contents and I said. When you scroll down, you see here, commencement of proceeding is 13 to 15, and then pleadings are 25 to 29, so you can click on these rules and read all of those. With respect to the forms, as I said, you type it in Google “Rules of Civil Procedure form”, and you see all of the forms that are listed here, and statement of defense as you notice is form 18A, and I previously explained that these form numbers relate to this specific rule in the Rules of Civil Procedure, so that’s helpful. You click on it and it will open a Statement of Defense document, this is the form that is available online and you can download it. And I have already prepared a Statement of Defense for the same matter, just as an example of very very basic, but to give you a sense of how you are drafting your Statement of Defense. So, this is the statement of defense, the opposite side, you want to make sure that you insert the court file number here, so that when you’re filing it, the court knows what court file number it is. And then, you have Mary Kozner, John Smith, this is the plaintiff, this is defendant, you copy it exactly as it was in the Statement of Claim, and then, you draft your Statement of Defense. When you started the Statement of Defense, generally speaking, first thing you want to address, is what is it that you agree or disagree from the statement of claim. So, if there are certain things that you admit, then you would like to mention that. So, for instance, the defendant John Smith admits paragraphs so and so of the Statement of Claim. So, for instance in this case, if you admit that you and Mary were childhood friends, then you would refer to that paragraph and say I admit that we were childhood friends. If you disagree with every single thing that is stated in the Statement of Claim, then you basically say John Smith denies each and every allegation raised in the Statement of Claim, so that’s how you do it. If you have admitted to certain things, then you say you deny certain things, but you want to make sure that you cover that, you don’t leave out any paragraph of the Statement of Claim hanging, not having addressed in this way. So for the purposes of, you know, being cautious, many statement of defense generally start by saying that the defendant denies each and every allegation in the Statement of Claim unless specifically admitted. And so, when you start with that, then you can put your side of the story and say yes, we’re childhood friends. So, you start with the denial, and then you start admitting that. And one way, it’s sort of your preference, you can do it one way or another, some lawyers prefer it doing this way, because then you can have your complete story the way you put it. So, you can start by saying we’re childhood friends and then move on with the story, as opposed to just picking which parts you agree and which parts you don’t. Anyway, moving down, you know, in this example, Smith agrees that he did receive money from Mary, but what he disagrees is that this was not a loan, but this was a gift, right? And so, then, he adds his side of the story. So, because the court wants to know, okay Mary says she gave you $100,000, you admit that you received $100,000, so what actually happened? Is it a loan or is it a gift? And so, you are now providing your side of the story, and in this case you’re saying an example that not only you and Mary a childhood friends, but your fathers were best friends and then at some point in the past your father had helped Mary’s father when he was having financial difficulties, and so now that you were having financial difficulties, Mary decided to help you out and give you a gift not as a loan, and then within a few months, there were some family disputes, family fights between children which got the whole families embroiled in it to a point that you’re not even now in a talking terms, and Mary has out of spite maybe commenced this action in retaliation. So, what you’re saying is that essentially, she gave this money to me as a gift, but now that we’re not talking, we’re not friends anymore, she is now changing her mind retroactively and trying to say that this was a loan not a gift, which is not true right. So, if this story has validity, if the court agrees with this story, then the court may throw away throw out Mary’s court action, so in the end, what you’re saying is that she has no claim and you are asking this honorable court to dismiss the claim with cost, and then you are agreeing that the case can be tried in on in Toronto. You put your information here, enter the date and you put the Mary’s lawyers information or Mary’s information, whichever the case may be, and then you complete the back page and you complete the form and serve it on Mary, and then take it to court for filing. So this is a very, very simple example of a statement of defense that you can file.

Now, with respect to the court fees, I had mentioned in previous lectures that if you type in Ontario court fees, you will come to this regulation, Ontario regulation 293/92, which talks about all kinds of court fees, and then if you scroll down you’ll notice that a statement of defense and Counter Claim adding a party, the fee is $220. So in this case, you will take $220 to the court, and then file your statement of defense.

So, in conclusion, you want to keep in mind that your statement of defense is a very important document. And you need to understand the underlying principles, at least in terms of how you’re going to defend yourself. So, in this case, the example that we’re using is the underlying principle is that a gift is something that is given and it’s not returnable, a loan is a contractual thing and you have to return it. So if that’s the legal principle, then the fact that you’re arguing is that this was a gift and not a loan, and therefore the court should throw out, should dismiss Mary’s claim. But in different cases, your case may be a bit more complicated, factually and legally, and so one approach you could have if you’re not clear about your legal issues, is that consult with a lawyer, sit down, have the case reviewed, make sure you understand it, even if you’re drafting the defense yourself, have a lawyer review it just so that you understand that you are doing what needs to be done to defend your court action, and you don’t miss out anything. So, these are some of the ways you can do it.

If anything is unclear, please contact us on through any of these ways, and we’ll be happy to answer those questions and add more lectures. We’ll get to in the next lecture, the drafting of our reply and we’ll continue to use this example, and hopefully that will give you a full sense of how pleadings are drafted in sort of this basic example. So, thank you for watching, and I look forward to seeing you in the next lecture.

Temporary Lay-off in Ontario: Essentials You Must Know [video]

December 26th, 2017

This lecture explains the basic principles regarding the law of temporary lay-off of employees in Ontario. It explains when an employee can be temporarily laid off and the limits on the time period of the layoff. It also explains when a temporary lay-off automatically becomes a termination.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

N/A

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. Today we’ll talk about some of the common misconceptions about the temporary layoff in Ontario. The lecture is specific to Ontario, the principles are similar in other provinces but if you want to understand the temporary lay-off procedure and law in your own province you must look into your own legislation as well in addition to this lecture. There are some of the common misconceptions about who can be temporary laid off and so we’ll cover all of those issues in today’s lecture.

We’ll begin with a disclaimer that this course is not legal advice, so if you have any specific questions you must contact a lawyer or a paralegal.

Temporary lay-off, the first thing you want to understand is that there is no Common Law Right that is given to an employer to temporarily lay off an employee. The right is provided specifically under the legislation which is called Employment Standards Act 2000 in Ontario, and so under that legislation the employer has a right to temporarily lay off an employee, and then I’ll talk about the extent of that right in the next slide. But essentially in a temporary lay-off an employee’s employment is temporarily interrupted. The employer comes to the employee often times and says “look the business is slow we can’t keep everybody to be employed for a certain time period so we’re temporarily laying you off and then we have a right to recall you so when the business is okay we’ll call you back and then you must come back, and if you don’t come back then you effectively resign or abandon your employment.” Very common in production environment, in factories, in industrial areas, and a lot of times that happens around Christmas time when the business is slow the employer will come to employees and temporarily lay them off from their work for a certain time period and would recall them when the business is okay. So that’s essentially what a temporary lay-off is: it’s a temporary interruption in employment but you are still an employee of the same employer and then the employer has a right to recall you.

And during the time off the temporary lay-off you continue to have your benefits, if there is this pension plans that your part of employer continues to contribute to that, if you’re a part of a medical benefits plan your employer continues to contribute to that, and then the employer make certain payments, some payments are made by Employment Insurance so Service Canada and so you get your record of employment and you file it with Service Canada and you get some money from E.I.

So the key question here is that whom does this temporarily lay-off under Employment Standards Act 2000 apply to? Does it apply to every single employee – and we’re talking about a non-unionized environment – does it apply to every single employee? Can an employer come to any employee and say that “I am temporarily laying you off because of whatever reasons?” Is that a blanket right? And the answer is no, absolutely not. This is a common misconception a lot of people have that just because they’re employed and employer has an inherent right to temporarily lay them of because of their business needs and the answer is No. There must be a specific clause in your Employment Agreement that gives that specific right to the employer to benefit from this section of Employment Standards Act. So if you want to check whether in your situation in your specific contract whether the employer has a right to temporarily lay you off then you want to look at your employment contract, your employment letter and it should have either a specific clause saying, that we retain the right to temporarily lay you off under Employment Standards Act, or you know a sort of a general clause saying that we retain all rights that are provided to us in under the Employment Standards Act 2000 and we will enforce them as necessary. But something to that there has to be specific language in your contract that allows the employer to benefit from temporarily lay-off provision of the Employment Standards Act, absent that clause the employer does not have the right to temporarily lay you off.

The second part that you want to keep in mind is that let’s say if there is no clause in your employment agreement that gives this right to the employer, there may be some argument based upon past practices. So for instance if the employer had temporarily laid you off a year ago or two years ago or some time in the past, and you had not challenge that temporary lay0off and you actually went away and then came back at the time of the recall, the employer may have an argument that by your conduct by accepting the temporary lay-off and coming back at the time of recall you have demonstrated acceptance to a clause in your employment agreement that allows the employer to temporarily lay you off. So it’s important for you to understand that if the employer does not have a right to temporarily lay you off and you are not willing to give that right to the employer then you must challenge when you are temporarily laid off, because if there is no right to temporarily lay you off then that attempt to temporarily lay you off is effectively termination. So you stand up and you raise that issue and you claim that as terminations and then it gets a bit complicated how the issues get resolved, there are practical ways of getting these things resolved, but essentially what you want to keep in mind is that there’s no fundamental, there’s no inherent right, the right comes from a specific clause in your employment agreement that allows the employer to benefit from this provision of the Employment Standards Act. And in some cases the employer may rely on past practice with respect to you, and it’s important for you to understand that if the employer had laid off other employees who are similar in terms of their job duties as you, and they had accepted it but that does not mean that the same practice would apply to you, because every employment contract or agreement is a separate no matter if the job duties are similar.

Okay so one more thing you want to keep in mind is about the time period of temporary lay-off, the provisions in the Employment Standards Act are specific. Section 56 Sub 2 of the E.S.A. actually provides for the time period. And so let’s look at 56 Sub 2 it’s right here, “for the purposes of Clause 1 Sub C, a temporary lay-off is a lay-off of not more than 13 weeks in any period of 20 consecutive weeks or a lay-off more than 13 weeks in any period of 20 consecutive weeks if the lay-off is less than 35 weeks in any period of 52 consecutive weeks.” So what that section is saying is that in 20 consecutive weeks if you are temporarily laid off for 13 weeks or less then that is a temporary lay-off. And if it exceeds 13 weeks in 20 consecutive weeks then you want to look at the next part, which is that does it exceed 35 weeks in the 52 consecutive weeks? So if 52 consecutive weeks is really a year or so if you have been laid off for less than 35 weeks in a year then that could be a temporary lay-off, but if it’s more then that becomes termination and we’ll talk about it. But remember I keep hammering this point that there’s no inherent right that the employer has to do this. The right comes from a specific clause in the employment agreement.

Okay so what happens when the time period of a lay-off exceeds the 13 weeks in 20 consecutive weeks or 35 weeks in 52 consecutive weeks then we look at Section 56 Sub 1 Sub C, which talks about, 56 Sub 1 says, “an employer terminates the employment of an employee for purposes of Section 54 termination, If the employer lays off the employee, lays the employee off for a period longer than the period of a temporary lay-off.” So in other words if the employer has laid you off for more than 13 weeks in 20 consecutive weeks or more than 35 weeks in 52 consecutive weeks then that becomes effectively termination, so the employer doesn’t have to say that it automatically becomes termination.

And another part that you want to remember is Section 56 Sub 5, which says what is the date of termination. So according to that section once the time period exceeds and it automatically becomes terminations your date of terminations is in fact the first day when you were laid off so that becomes important. And it’s an important thing to note because that will have an impact on when your Employment Insurance begins or what your terminations rights are and when do they begin and how do you deal with that. So that’s why I brought this to your attention that the date of termination also is important.

So in conclusion what is it that you want to keep in mind? You always want to understand clearly that there is no automatic right given to an employer to temporarily lay off an employee. The right comes specifically from your employment agreement that you have signed or that you have accepted, and that agreement must have a specific clause that allows the employer to temporarily lay you off, and if there is no clause, then there is no right. Then any time an employer attempts to temporarily lay you off that becomes termination. And so also keep in mind the time period, the two time periods that I mentioned, 13 weeks and 35 weeks because if it exceeds those, if the employer exceeds those two time periods and has not recalled you then you must claim your termination rights. Also remember that at the time when employer temporarily lays you off and the employer has a right to temporarily lay you off, the employer does not need to provide a date of recall at that time, the recall date can be provided later as long as it is within the time constraints that we’ve just talked about.

So in this context keep your termination rights in mind because if it does become an effective termination or even if you’re unsure whether the employer has the right to temporarily lay you off or not you want to think about your termination rights, make sure that you do not undermine your terminations rights which could be significant in some cases and we have other lectures that talk about it.

But this was sort of a brief gist of common issues that arise and misunderstanding about temporary lay-off, hopefully this lecture makes it clear. If you have any comments any questions please share with us and we look forward to seeing you in the next lecture, thank you for watching.

Steps for Scheduling a Motion in an Ontario Superior Court [video]

December 26th, 2017

This lecture outlines the steps a party must take to schedule a motion date in an Ontario Superior Court. For those unfamiliar with the scheduling process, these steps could be complex and daunting. This lecture simplifies those steps and points towards the resources that can provide additional guidance to parties based on their jurisdiction.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

N/A

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. Today we’ll talk about scheduling a motion in Ontario Superior Court, and we will provide you with specific steps that you take in order to book your motion. A lot of people who have not brought a motion, including lawyers may not be exactly familiar with the steps that they need to take, because each region in Ontario may have their own procedure of scheduling a motion, so you need to be on top of the applicable Practice Directions for that region to figure out how do you actually book a motion. And so we’ll talk about those steps in this lecture.

We commence with our disclaimer that this course is not legal advice, so if you have any specific questions you must contact a lawyer or a paralegal or contact the Law Society of Upper Canada.

I want to you to keep in mind that the discussion is sort of limited in today’s lecture. It is not comprehensive, it does not cover every single kind of motion that you may need to bring in a court. And depending upon the region in which or the specific court in which you’re bringing this motion the process may be slightly different. So what should you carry from this lecture is that, you get an overview of how do you actually go about scheduling a motion, booking a motion, you get an overview of that. You get a direction or a guidance in terms of what do you need to do if you’re still not sure what kind of documents, what kind of online websites that you look at, who do you call if you need to figure out the process.

So most of the steps that we’re talking about will cover generally Motions on Notice. And Motion on Notice, if you read the rules on motions what it says is that a motion should be made on notice, meaning the other parties who are affected by that motion must have a notice of that unless there are certain reasons why it shouldn’t be, and then it could be done without notice. So mostly this covers the motions that are on notice, they could be contested or uncontested. Contested motions are those where other parties do not agree that what you’re asking from the court should be granted. Uncontested are the ones where they either agree that the relief you’re asking should be granted or they may not have any position on what the court will let which should decide.

If you’re bringing a motion without notice, an Ex-parte Motion, before a judge in Toronto then again this lecture applies, in other jurisdictions you’ll have to check what the Practice Directions say there. You want to keep in mind that if you’re bringing an Emergency Motion then this process does not apply. Emergency Motion is an Emergency Motion, you contact the court you try to find a master or a judge that’s available and then you go and bring your motion. Similarly Injunction Motions are sort of Emergency Motions depending upon the context of the motion. But in those motions you may not need to follow this process that we’re talking about today. Ex-parte Motion before the judge in Toronto, I have a separate lecture on that you can review it. Masters in Toronto, I believe they sit two days in a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and you can actually prepare your motion material and show up in the court in the morning and have your matter heard by a master. Summary Judgment Motions, there’s a separate process.

So depending upon the kind of motion you are bringing the process for going about scheduling that motion may be different. And so what you want to carry from this lecture is that, a) you want to read the Rules of Civil Procedure with respect to the motion that you’re bringing and what needs to be done, and then secondly you want to make sure that you read the Practice Direction of the Ontario, the province wide and the Practice Direction specific to that region so that you can understand specific rules for that. And I’ll show you a website where you can go, but if you type in Google “Practice Direction Toronto”, “Practice Direction Newmarket,” you know, you will find those Practice Directions they are available to the public.

So what are the steps in scheduling a motion? First you have to determine whether your motion is before a master or a judge, because you would need that information before you actually schedule it. You would need to determine whether your motion is a Long Motion or a Short Motion. There is a difference, and again within Long Motions there is a different process if the Long Motion is before a judge or if it is before a master and we’ll talk about it in a bit. And then you will actually go about booking or scheduling a motion date with that specific court.

So a motion before a master or a judge, you need to figure that out before you actually schedule a date because the court will ask you about it. And so in order for you to determine whether your motion is before a master or a judge, you check out Rule 37.02, you want to keep in mind that this determination whether a motion should be before a judge or master is not always easy. I’ve seen oftentimes lawyers disagreeing whether a motion should be heard before a master or a judge. And understanding the distinction and figuring out whether a motion should be heard before a master or a judge is important. Of course every judge can hear every single motion, but if the motion can be heard by a master and you bring it before a judge, the judge may refuse to hear that motion; and most likely will refuse to hear that motion because the master does have a jurisdiction, so you’re wasting the judge’s time who has other motions to attend or other matters to attend.

So figuring that out is important let’s see if we can check out the Rule 37.02, it talks about jurisdiction to hear a motion at 37.02 “Sub 1 a judge has jurisdiction to hear any motion and the proceeding” as I said, but with respect to master, master has a jurisdiction where you know the power to grant. So master has jurisdiction for all motions except the following: “Where the power to grant the relief sought is conferred expressly on a judge by a statutory rule,” so if something says specifically that it is to be heard by a judge hen it has to go to a judge. If you’re setting aside, varying, or amending an order that was given by a judge, then a master because master has a limited authority and less than a judge, will not be able to vary or amend a judge’s order set it aside. “To abridge or extend a time prescribed by an order that a master could not have made.” So again similar to what I read before. “For a judgment on consent in favor of or against a party under disability, relating to the liberty of the subject,” I’m not clear what that means, “under Section 4 or 5 of the Judicial Review Procedure Act in an appeal.”

So you know these are sort of the broad guidelines but I can tell you that practically speaking you may not get it right. I mean only last week I was in court attending a motion before a judge where two lawyers appeared and they had booked a motion respecting undertakings and refusals before a judge, and it is commonly known that those motions can be heard by a master, so the judge was not too happy about it and she sent them away to a master to have that motion heard. So you have to figure out before you book or schedule a motion whether your motion is going to be before a master or a judge. And just sort of as a comment on masters or judges, I think I have a separate lecture on this too, but masters in Ontario are being phased out. Masters as now you can understand are like judges but they have lesser powers than judges, and they used to be all across and available across Ontario but I believe they’re being phased out. And I believe, don’t quote me on it, but I believe they’re only now in Toronto and when those masters retire, then there will not be any more appointments and they’ll only be judges. But so far you have masters and judges, so you want to make sure that you understand whether your motion is before a master or a judge.

Step number 2 you need to determine whether your motion is Short or Long Motion, so you want to check the Practice Direction to ensure whether you understand what constitutes a Short or Long Motion. In Toronto if your motion will take two hours or more by all of the parties, not just you, so you have to make your submissions, your arguments, and the opposing side or sides have to make their submissions and if all of that time is two hours or more then that’s considered a Long Motion. And if it’s shorter than that then that’s considered a Short Motion and there’s a separate process for scheduling both kinds of motion.

You want to make sure that you estimate your time fairly. If you believe that the motion realistically would be heard in more than two hours, and just because you can’t schedule it quickly you write down that it will be one hour and fifty-five minutes and it will actually take longer than that, you will get the wrath of the judge or the master. So you want to be careful because when the resources are allocated for scheduling a motion they are done very carefully, and if you overestimate your time or underestimate your time, if you’re wasting the court’s time, then you get penalized. You also need to confer with other parties before scheduling a motion on time and also on the dates. So you call or contact your opposing counsel or other counsel or other parties and ask them for their availability for the motion before you actually schedule a motion. But in some cases you can go ahead and schedule a motion, but in the majority of the cases you must contact the parties and find out their availability.

Now booking a motion date. So you can book a motion with a phone call, email, or a fax, and you call and you find out the court’s number, you can Google it and you will see that there the Ministry of the Attorney General does provide courts’ addresses and phone numbers and you can call them and they will be various options. And you end up if it’s a civil motion before a master or a judge, you get to that number, usually they’re called motion scheduling clerks, at least in Toronto, in some of the courts there may be pretrial coordinators who may be assigned the task of scheduling motions. So you call them or you email and fax and I’ll talk about that, you email or fax a Motion Requisition form that’s what you prepared.

And so let me show you a Motion Requisition form that I had prepared for a different matter and it will give you a sense of what you do. I had actually in one of my previous lectures on Default Judgment Motions I had shown this form, but I did not go through in detail, so I’m taking this opportunity to sort of go through it in detail. So this is a requisition to schedule a Short Motion application before a judge or a master, either of the two. Check that box and you notice here that you can send this form a completed copy, it’s for Toronto by email to this email address or by fax and this is the fax number.

Okay so filling out the form our first item you have to fill out your court file number and you can find it on your Statement of Claim or Statement of Defense and the court file number, then you type in the short title meaning, “Jane Doe versus ABC Ltd,” etcetera. So whatever the title is and again this title should be identical to or similar to what your Statement of Claim or defense or pleading state. Then if you are the moving party are you a plaintiff, the defendant, or somebody else you check that box. Is this case under case management? If it’s under case management you would know it and you will check that box, otherwise whether it’s under simplified procedure or ordinary procedures. So matters under $100,000 there’s a Rule 76 under Rules of Civil Procedure. You would know by this time because you have issued a claim or you’re defending a claim so check that box whichever is appropriate. Is motion on consent, is it opposed, unopposed, ex-parte? So all of these as you notice are important pieces of information that the court needs to properly schedule your motion. So accurate information would help the court to schedule it properly. Estimated time of oral arguments by all parties. So this one is the one that I said is very important. In this case it was it we suggested it was 30 minutes, because it wasn’t a motion, it was an ex-parte motion so only I was making the submissions. Then you talk about the nature of the action, is it a contract dispute, is it an employment law dispute, personal injury, you specify that. Then you talk about the rules under which you’re bringing this motion and the ones that will apply, and you list all the rules that apply and you notice that I’ve listed a number of rules here. And so that gives you an opportunity so that you prepare for the motion in advance and so you go through the rules, the Rules of Civil Procedure and figure out which specific rules would apply, and then you write them down here so the judge or master has an idea of what to expect at that motion. Then is the motion before a master or a judge? If it can only be heard by a judge, then you write down here or you say “master or a judge” and it doesn’t matter. Whether a particular judge or a master is seized of all motions, in some cases it is the case, if that’s not the case then you say no, or not applicable. Is the proceeding governed by Simplified Rules? If it is, you have checked this box. Does the motion relate to undertakings or refusals? If the answer is “no,” you write that down. Is it a Summary Judgment motion? Is the application or motion urgent? Is any party self represented? And if it is then you say yes. Is this proceeding under case management? Already asked but you check the box. Does the motion application require a bilingual judge or master? The answer is no. And then here you provide at least two dates to the court and then these dates you obtain prior to putting the dates here. So this is important, you have conferred you have spoken with other counsel and they have – sorry, step back. You have contacted the court first either by email or phone and ask them what are the dates that are available for a motion before a judge or a master, and they will give you certain dates that are open. Then you check your calendar and look at your availability and contact opposing counsel or other parties’ counsel or other parties to check their availability and then you select two or three dates here and then you put them down and then when you send the form the court will pick one or one or two dates and then it will schedule it. So that’s how the scheduling will take place, so a number of steps.

And when you call the court and find out the availability you can’t hold off any date. So it’s really a matter of you figuring out the available dates, talking to the opposing counsel, getting the day choices over here, and sending this to the court and blocking those dates, so you’ll have to do that.

Okay so you’ve sent the Motion Requisition form. You want to and I can’t emphasize more that you have to watch the timelines for all of the steps in a motion. In this case once you have booked the motion, the court has advised you the motion is booked, you have in Ontario 10 days to file your Notice of Motion and fees to make sure that the date remains scheduled for your matter, otherwise you will lose that date. You want to make sure that you follow the timeline for delivering the motion record, serving it and filing it with the court. And you want to make sure that you confirm the motion, so there’s a form for confirmation of motion which must be sent I believe three days or two days before the motion is heard, I have a separate lecture I believe on that. But you want to make sure that these are all the steps that you follow, and you don’t miss out on any steps, because if you do then you will end up losing the timeline for the motions.

I talked about the Practice Directions, I’ve opened a Practice Direction for Toronto, and like I said you can Google the Practice Direction for other regions and you will find that. And if you notice in this Practice Direction, scheduling a Long application, a Long Motion, a Summary Judgment Motion, or an Urgent Motion before a judge in Toronto, you can’t send a motion requisition form. You have to attend at Civil Practice Court before a judge in order to do all of this, and then if you want to attend Civil Practice Court there is a separate form for it and you can download that here. So this if I scroll up this is the Consolidated Practice Directions for Civil Actions applications and procedural matters in Toronto region. And similarly you can go and find Practice Directions for other regions, you can scroll down here, see Central East, Central South, so all of these are available. The key thing is you want to make sure that you read those Practice Directions before you actually go about scheduling it and then you follow all the steps that are in those Practice Directions. So hopefully this gives you a broader understanding of how do you actually go about getting a date, because a lot of people just don’t know and it becomes complicated. So this gives you a sense of how do you actually get a date, to go and schedule your motion, and then the next steps are…and I have separate lectures and that. What do you need to prepare? How do you go about preparing those documents, serving them, and filing them with the courts?

Hopefully this is helpful, if you have any comments and suggestions please feel free to contact us and we look forward to seeing you in the next lecture. Thank you for watching.

Starting a Human Rights Application in Ontario [video]

December 26th, 2017

This lecture provides a basic overview of the application process respecting human rights matters in Ontario.

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.

Show Notes:

Links mentioned in video:
http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/hrto/forms-filing/
http://www.hrlsc.on.ca/en/home
https://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/rso-1990-c-h19/latest/rso-1990-c-h19.html#sec1

Lecture Slides:

N/A

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. Today we’ll give you an overview of how to commence a Human Rights application in Ontario. We’ll provide you with some basic steps so you get an understanding of how to commence this process.

We’ll begin with a disclaimer that this course is not legal advice, so if you have any specific questions you must contact a lawyer or paralegal.

What are we going to talk about today? The first and the foremost thing you want to understand is that the issue that you are raising, the dispute that you’re raising, is that considered legally considered discrimination or not? Would that fall under the general category of unfairness, harassment, workplace harassment, or something else or would it be squarely an issue that has to be dealt with by discrimination? We’ll talk about your status if you are an ordinary citizen and you went underwent a discrimination matter then your employment status is not relevant, but if your matter relates to your employment, either you’re a former employee or present employee then will talk about how your employment is relevant to what you do with your discrimination case. We’ll talk about Human Rights Tribunal’s jurisdiction it’s an important topic and you must understand that the jurisdiction issues clearly before you commence a Human Rights application. And we’ll talk about some of the resources that are available to you if you wish to commence a Human Rights application.

So what is the discrimination criteria? The important part that you want to understand is that for you to claim discrimination it must be based on one of the grounds that are provided in the Human Rights Code when you’re talking about issues in Ontario. If you’re dealing with a company or an organization or an employer who is federally regulated then you want to look at Canadian Human Rights Act, because that deals with federal legislation. If you’re in another province than obviously other provinces have their own Human Rights legislation and you must look at those to see whether your specific issue falls under the category of discrimination in those legislations. Most of the provincial legislations are similar, but there may be certain differences and you want to make sure that you understand that. So the key message here is that there are specific grounds that are listed in Human Rights legislation and your discrimination, the facts of your discrimination, must fall under one of those grounds, and if they don’t fall under those grounds then you don’t have a claim for discrimination.

What you want to understand is that there’s no common law cause of action. What this means is that if you remove these legislations, let’s say there was no Human Rights Code, there was no Canadian Human Rights Act, there was no legislation in Canada that existed that provided certain protections for Human Rights, then you cannot go to court and commence a tort proceeding saying that there’s a tort of discrimination, there’s no such thing. So the courts or the tribunals draw their jurisdiction their power from these specific legislations, and that’s how you can get to a claim for Human Rights.

Let’s go through Human Rights Code of Ontario and understand this a little bit better. Go to Table of Contents you will notice that Part 1 of the Human Rights Code of Ontario talks about freedom from discrimination and it has about 9 separate sections, and each section deals with a different subject matter: services, accommodation, harassment and accommodation, employment, so on and so forth. So let’s pick services as an example and see what the code says. Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities without discrimination because of, and now the grounds are listed: race, ancestry place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, or disability. So I believe these are 15 specific grounds, if you are a matter if your dispute is based on one of these grounds then you do or you potentially have a claim for discrimination on the basis of services, on the basis of one of these grounds. So essentially what you’re saying is that this restaurant, this bar, this organization treated me differently from others because of my race, or because of my disability, or because of my pregnancy, and so on and so forth.

So if you fall under one of these categories then you may have a potential claim for discrimination, if you don’t fall in one of these categories then you don’t. So it is important for you to be clear whether your case falls under the definition of Human Rights Discrimination in the respective provincial legislation or the federal legislation if that applies.

Now let’s talk about status. As I said if your matter is not related to employment then it doesn’t matter, your status is not relevant. But if you are complaining about discrimination with respect to employment, then it’s important for you to understand what is your status and then which status allows you to go where. If you are unionized employees then you have two options with respect to your Human Rights application. You can either file a grievance through the collective agreement it’s called the Grievance Arbitration Process so you can choose that or you can file an application with Human Rights Tribunal for Discrimination. You cannot do both; you cannot finish one and then start the other. You basically choose one or the other. There may be specific circumstances in which you may have gone through a grievance and may not be satisfied and the Tribunal may still be willing to hear your application, but those are very very limited circumstance. Generally speaking, you have the option to choose one or the other but not both.

If you’re a non-unionized employee you have only one option. Which is to go to the tribunal and file your Human Rights application. I put a question mark with the court action and I’ll talk about it in the next slide, in certain circumstances you may be able to go to court for your Human Rights application, but generally speaking you cannot.

So what is the tribunal jurisdiction? In this case because we’re talking about Ontario we’re talking about Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario which is the body that deals with all the all the discrimination issues arising under Human Rights Code. Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal are two separate bodies with different functions, but they deal with Human Rights matters that relate to federally regulated entities.

Okay so what you want to keep in mind is that when you look at Human Rights Code you will find there’s one specific section that says that Human Rights Tribunal has the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with Human Rights matters. And I want you to understand the part of jurisdiction and exclusivity both. So when we’re talking about jurisdiction what you want to understand if you’re not clear about what a jurisdiction is, jurisdiction is really the power of the judge or that court to decide upon your specific issue and grant you the remedy. Does that court have that power or does it not? And what you want to keep in mind is that not every single court in Ontario or in Canada has the power to deal with every single issue that may come before them, no. They draw their power from specific legislation, and their powers are limited to that legislation. So a common example I can give you is that when you go to Small Claims Court, the judge in Small Claims Court only has the power to grant remedies up to $25,000 and anything beyond $25,000 he or she does not even have the power to grant you that remedy, whether or not he have a good case or not, so there are limited powers.

With respect to jurisdiction for Human Rights matters the Human Rights Code say that Human Rights Tribunal has the exclusive jurisdiction for Human Rights matters, so that means you cannot go to court for Human Rights matters. So far it’s simple but then it gets complicated. How it gets complicated is that let’s say if you have a factual dispute and on the one side it’s a discrimination issue, but in addition to discrimination there is another legal dispute that arises because of those facts, and those facts or those legal matters are not in the power of Human Rights Tribunal. So let’s talk about it by way of an example.

Let’s say you are filing a Human Rights application or you have a Human Rights dispute with respect to your employment, but at the same time you’re also terminated from your employment and now you have a Wrongful Dismissal action, which may or may not be related to your Human Rights application, but now you have two issues against the same organization, the same company, the factual matrix, the underlying facts are the same or similar for both matters. So now the law does not say that you go for your discrimination issue to the tribunal and go for the Wrongful Dismissal issue to the court, it doesn’t say that. So in that situation you have an option to go to the court, take your entire case to the court, and the court will deal with your discrimination issue and the Wrongful Dismissal action. So that’s sort of a basic example but there could be other categories in which your matter may overlap into more than one legal category. Some of them may not be under the jurisdiction of Human Rights Tribunal and so the appropriate course of action is to go to the court.

Now when we deal with Human Rights matters, not only that we look at this issue the jurisdiction issue, but we look at some of the strategies in terms of what will get us the best results respect to the specific issues. Sometimes we take the entire case to the tribunals because that may be a better place strategically. Sometimes we take the entire issue to the court because that may serve our client’s interests better. So as long as you understand that jurisdiction is an important factor that you have to consider you will not end up going to the wrong place.

Now let’s talk about some of the resources. Human Rights Legal Support Center is an organization that is created by the government and it provides free services to applicants, not to respondents unfortunately, but just to the applicants who believe that they have been discriminated. So I have provided the website here and there should be contact information here. But if you type into Google, “Human Rights Legal Support Center,” and make sure that you understand the wording correctly, because you know with Human Rights you can mix up the tribunal, the commission, the support center, so you want to be clear that “Human Rights Legal Support Center” is the entity. If you believe you have been discriminated they can they have lawyers they have other staff and they can provide you with free advice and free services to fight your Human Rights matter, and bring an application on your behalf to the Human Rights Tribunal if necessary. So contact that organization if you wish to not hire a lawyer and then seek advice for free.

Human Rights Commission also has a number of resources, Human Rights Commission of Ontario essentially is a body that does a lot of research on Human Rights matters and posts and puts out a lot of tutorials and other information about Human Rights issues so it’s a good body to look at and you can check their website and then use that as a resource. Human Rights Tribunal of course has its own website and you can always go to their website, and they have a lot of resources, and they actually have all the forms and stuff that you need for your Human Rights matters. So it’s a it’s a good place for you to go, understand some of the issues, read their resources, all of the laws, rules, decisions, they’re all here. You can understand the procedure and then benefit from that. And all the forms are here, you can actually have these forms and smart forms, which you can actually complete online and then file electronically, but all the forms that are used in Human Rights matters in Ontario are provided by Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Okay so what do you want to keep in mind, is that the most important part that you want to remember is that whether your specific issue comes under the definition of discrimination or not because if it doesn’t you will be in the wrong place going to the Human Rights Tribunal will not help you. Then you want to be very clear where do you want to file your complaint, should it be filed as a grievance procedure should it be filed with the Human Rights Tribunal, or should you commence a court action in Ontario. Also you want to make sure that you line up your resources so that whatever help you need with respect to the processing of your application you have that lined up. And hopefully you’re able to present your case in a better form to the tribunal or to the court.

We’ll keep building on this information but we at least wanted to tell you what the basic process is to file a Human Rights application and what are some of the resources you need to go if you want to do some further research. We’ll keep building on it in our future lectures and if you have any questions or any comments please share with us and we’ll be happy to include more topics and more issues with respect to Human Rights matters. Thank you for watching.

Small Claims in Ontario – 5 Basic Steps [video]

December 26th, 2017

This lecture provides an overview of the basic steps in a small claims court in Ontario.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. Today, we will provide you with an overview of the basic steps in a Small Claims matter in Ontario. If you have watched any of our other videos, you will notice that we have a video on six basic steps in a Civil Action in Ontario. Small Claims is slightly different, the steps are slightly different, a little bit simpler, but we’ll cover those in today’s lecture.

Before we begin we will talk about our disclaimer that this course is not legal advice, so if you have any specific questions you must contact a lawyer or a paralegal.

We have talked about these two legislations in many of our videos; these are the basic legislations that apply to civil matters, the procedures in Ontario Courts. They have rules that govern the steps in which a matter can proceed in courts. The Courts of Justice Act is the overarching legislation, and underneath we have Rules of Civil Procedure which deal with matters that are Superior Court of Justice, and then we have Small Claims Court rules which deal with matters that relate to Small Claims Court. You can Google both of these legislations and they are available online for free and you can review and understand the information that is provided in these legislations.

So what are some of the basic steps in a Small Claims Matter? The first step is pleadings, which is no different than any other step. Pleadings is if you are issuing a claim then you prepare your claim and you serve it. If you are a defendant you prepare your defense and you serve and file it. So those are called pleadings. If you have a counter claim, it has a slightly different name in Small Claims Court, we’ll explain that. But pleadings are really your fundamental case. Why you are asking the court to do certain things for you. Either you’re asking money, then you explain in the pleadings how much money you are asking the court to order against the other party and what are your reasons. Similarly if you’re defending what are your reasons for the court to say that they must throw the plaintiff’s case out. Second step is witness list you’ll have to serve and file a list of your witnesses that will go to trial; we’ll talk about it. We’ll talk about in Step Three additional documents that you may need to serve. Step number Four is a Settlement Conference and the final step is trial.

Okay so if you are the plaintiffs if you are the party was commencing the court action then you will prepare what’s called the claim. The forms for the claim are available online, you just type in Google “Rules of Small Claims Court Forms” and you will see that all of those are listed here, let me sort of give you an example so you can see what those forms are. Type in “rules of small claims court forms” here it is. And lets open these forms so I can show you. All of these forms are numerically listed, and generally the forms relate to the specific rule that is in Small Claims Court. So Plaintiff’s Claim is Form 7A, you can click on it and open the document in Word, and you will see that it has a lot of information that you need to fill out, and we’ll explain that in a separate lecture. But this is the Plaintiff’s Claim form you can add additional documents to it, and then get it issued from the court and then serve and file it. So that’s essentially what your claim is.

You have similar documents for defense, and in some cases if you are the defendant and you have a counter claim against the plaintiff then you can complete a document called Defendant’s Claim, and then and then have it issued and served on that on the plaintiff. And similarly you may have cross claims and what not. It gets a bit complicated depending upon what your position is, who are the parties that need to be involved in this. But these documents, the basic documents, which provide your story, or the defendant’s story, or the plaintiff’s story, are called pleadings. The pleadings are the first step, they need to be prepared and served on all parties that are involved.

Now witness list is something that you need to serve and file. This needs to be prepared 14 days before the Settlement Conference, and if you have any additional documents in Small Claims procedure unlike Superior Court, you provide your evidence at the outset of the commencement of your claim. So when you are preparing your claim – and we’ll talk about it in a separate lecture – you actually prepare all of the evidence, documentary evidence that you have in your possession, you provide copies of that with the claim. So those documents are already provided, your entire case is actually in your claim. And similarly the defense provides all the copies of documents that they will rely on. But before you go to a Settlement Conference, if you discover that there are additional documents that are relevant, then you must serve those documents 14 days before trial. And then if you have witnesses for your case, if you are the plaintiff and you are the only person who was a witness, then your name goes in the witness list. If you have additional witnesses that you will bring to trial then you must provide those witnesses’ names in that witness list. And there is a form for the witness list, it is available again online you can download it and fill out that witness list information in there.

Okay we talked about documents, additional documents and so you must understand that the document has a very broad, very expansive definition in the rules. We have talked about it in the Rules of Civil Procedure and I want to show you a similar definition here in the Rules of Small Claims Court. I Google it and I opened “Rules of Small Claims Court.” If you scroll down to Section 1.02 Sub 1 you will find a definition of Document: “Document includes data and information in electronic form,” so it’s a very broad definition and then it goes on to explain what is electronic. And that includes “created, recorded, transmitted, or stored in digital form or in other intangible form by electronic magnetic or optical means or by any other means that has capability of creation, recording, transmission or storage similar to those means and electronically has corresponding meaning.” So essentially anything that exists in any form tangible intangible that can be produced is considered a document. Photos, text messages, emails, you know Word documents, P.D.F. documents, video recordings, audio recordings, all of those are documents. Sometimes even the data about the document may become relevant too, because when let’s say a word document is created it has a digital imprint when the document was created, who created it that sort of information and that’s called meta data, and that may be relevant in some cases too, so all of that needs to be produced.

So you want to make sure that all relevant documents that you are supporting to plead your case must be provided to the other side, and must be filed with the court so that you can fight your case.

Once the pleadings have been completed the court office automatically schedules what’s called a Settlement Conference. What you want to understand is the name implies Settlement Conference meaning that it is an opportunity to see if the matter can be settled. The Settlement Conference is arranged before a deputy judge. These deputy judges are the same judges who preside trials, so they have expertise in reviewing your matter, but remember that the deputy judge who will be presiding, who will be sitting in a settlement conference will not be the person who will take your case at trial. There are always two different people and the reason behind this is that at the Settlement Conference the court expects you to talk openly, confidentially, and see that the matter can settle. And therefore the judge who is sitting at the Settlement Conference may be privy to information that he shouldn’t know at trial because that may impact his judgment. So deputy judges at Settlement Conference are always different, but they will be presiding other trials in other matters so their expertise is the same.

Usually the Settlement Conference is scheduled for about 45 minutes so you can imagine that in 45 minutes you don’t have much time to discuss, you know, the merits of your case, you briefly talk about it. But then the essential goal is to see if you can find common grounds to resolve this matter, and the common saying that goes in the legal world is that if both parties walk out of the Settlement Conference unhappy, then the matter is settled properly because both have made compromises.

Settlement Conference is Without Prejudice. What that means is you can speak freely, whatever you say at Settlement Conference cannot be used against you at trial, and the same thing applies to the other side that if they share some information or state something that you know that is confidential then you cannot use that at trial against them. If the matter does not settle the deputy judge narrows down the issues so, what are the issues for trial? He or she may make a summary of those issues after discussing with you and all the parties, and then the deputy judge will ask about number of witnesses. You know the witness list is there by that time, so the deputy judge will determine what is the appropriate trial length, and he will mark it down in the endorsements. And on that basis when you schedule for trial the court office will schedule a trial for that length.

If the matter does not settle a Settlement Conference, then if you are the plaintiff then you will have to fill out the form that is required to schedule the trial. And there is a fee that you have to provide, so you provide that fee, you schedule the trial, and once you have submitted that document only then the court office will schedule a trial based on the number of days that are appropriate for your case. And at trial the trial will be presided by a deputy judge, who will review all the facts, who will listen to your evidence, your witnesses and then make a determination whether your position is the correct one or not. So that’s sort of the overall process of Small Claims Court. The process has been designed generally so that people can plead their cases without the need for a counsel or a paralegal, these are for matters $25,000 or less and so they’re supposed to be straightforward matters, but the procedural issues get sometimes complicated and if you end up in that situation that you may want to consult a lawyer or a paralegal just to make sure that you’re on the right track.

You want to make sure that you read the rules, read them cover to cover so that you can understand sometimes circumstances arise that you were not anticipating but if you have read the rules then you will be able to deal with those at that time. Make sure that you understand that there are forms for each step and so whatever steps you have to take look out for the forms, fill them out properly and then and then submit and serve them. Remember that a settlement can occur at any time from the time that you have issued the claim or you’ve filed a defense, you can always talk to the opposing side and figure out if the matter can be settled. It can be settled one minute before trial, it can be settled during trial, it can be settled before the court has issued its judgment. So there are great opportunities to settle and you should always explore settlement opportunities because the costs of taking a matter, even in Small Claims Court, could be much higher. So you want to make sure that at the overall process is worth your time and effort.

Hopefully this gives us a sense of the basic steps of Small Claims Court. We’ll keep building on it in our future courses, and if you have any comments please feel free to share those with us, and I look forward to seeing you in the next lecture thank you.

Sharing Personal Medical Information – Employee’s Rights and Obligations [video]

December 26th, 2017

What are the circumstances in which the employee is required to share personal medical information with the employer? What is the extent of the sharing of personal medical information? These basic concepts are addressed in this lecture.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

N/A

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mustaq from You Counsel. Today, we’ll talk about some of the circumstances in which you may be required to share your medical information with your employer if you’re an employee, or if you are an employer what are the circumstances in which you can ask your employees to disclose their personal medical information, and what is the extent of that sharing?

We’ll begin with a disclaimer that this course is not legal advice, so, if you have any specific questions you should contact a lawyer or a paralegal.

We’ll begin with the key principle and will use this key principle so that it may be easy for you to remember the key concepts of this lecture. And what I want you to sort of carry, and it’s said in the loose terms, but the employer does not have a right to the diagnosis, but may have a potential right to the prognosis. And we’ll talk about these terms but I think it’s generally easy to remember that no right to diagnosis, and maybe some right to prognosis of your medical circumstances.

So we’ll discuss you know what your privacy rights are with respect to your personal medical information. We’ll talk about how the diagnosis and prognosis the terms I’ve used, how do they relate to the sharing of personal medical information. So fundamentally what you want to remember is that your medical information is private and confidential, you are by default not required to share your personal medical information with anyone else. But there may be circumstances in which your personal medical circumstances may intersect with your employment duties. They may have an impact on how you can perform your duties, when you can perform your duties, and to what extent. And that’s a situation where in that intersection gives rise to certain rights that employer may have, to obtain certain medical information to manage its own business.

So, employer’s rights to your medical information are limited and they’re limited to the extent that the employer needs to manage its workforce, that’s an employer’s fundamental right, and the employer has a right to manage its own business. So in that context if you come to the employer and say that your performance of duties is limited because of certain medical circumstances, the employer has a right to understand what is the impact of that medical situation on its business so that they can properly get their business you know continued and have the duties performed. So I can give you an example, let’s say if you were a factory worker and your job, or one of your jobs, was to lift items and put them on shelves. And let’s say you end up having a back injury which limits you to lift the items, for instance if the doctor says that you should not be lifting any items that are heavier than 20 pounds, there may be additional restrictions that you may have to sit every so often, every hour or so you may have to lie down for certain time, or you may have to use special chairs or a special table while you perform your duties. So all of these things, all of these limitations, may have an impact on your duties. And in that context the employer has a right to understand what is the impact.

So, one example is the employer has a right to know that from today onwards you are not able to lift anything that is more than 20 pounds, and if there are items that are heavier, then the employer has to figure out who in the workforce will be able to do that task if not you. And if the employer needs to hire somebody temporarily or full time then they’ll have to do that in order to accommodate your circumstances. The employer also needs to know whether the extent of this limitation is temporary or permanent, is it going to last only for a few weeks or is it something that you can never do again. The employer also needs to understand what kind of breaks you need to take so that if there is additional work that needs to be completed then they have to manage all of that. So those are some of the circumstances in which the employer has a right to understand what is the impact of your medical circumstances so it’s what can manage its own business.

With respect to the employer’s duty to accommodate we have a separate lecture on that and you should review that if you’re not clear about what are your rights and obligations with respect to accommodation. So as I said there are limited circumstances in which you are required to provide your medical information. Now as I said there’s a difference between diagnosis and prognosis, so the employer does not have a right to say, “what is it that is causing you not to perform your duties?” So you know the nature of illness, the exact diagnosis, is something that you are not required to disclose and you shouldn’t disclose. What the employer needs to know is what are the limitations so that they can manage its own business.

Now, you also want to keep in mind that when you share that information, even that portion of medical information that you are sharing, the sharing is limited. It is not given out to the entire company, it is shared with H.R. and depending upon the nature of limitations it may or may not be shared with your manager. So in some circumstances it may be appropriate to share with your managers because the manager has to get the job done and so manager has to have some understanding of those limitations, but the sharing of that information is not shared with your colleagues, it’s not shared with anyone else, essentially it’s to the employer to their H.R. department so that they can understand how to rearrange their resources and get the work done while you’re not able to do that job or you’re not able to fully do that job.

So, what you want to remember in this process is that this exchange of information generally becomes a dialogue between you, the employee, and the employer, and how it’s done is that let’s say there is a medical circumstances that gives rise to some limitation, you get your doctor’s note saying that Employee So and So is not able to lift certain items above 20 pounds, and then that letter goes to the employer and then the employer may have some additional questions right. So what is the length of this restriction, are you able to lift anything at all, what if we change your duties to something else? The employer is trying to think about how to manage its work and so they may have additional questions, so they’ll come back to you with those additional questions and then you obtain the response to those questions from your physicians or if you have an understanding yourself then you respond to that. And so in this dialogue at some point there is clarity to the employer that how is your medical circumstance impacting its business, and then in that limited context the information is shared so the employer can manage its business.

Now, there is something that is not a topic for today but I wanted to mention it as call Independent Medical Examination. In some circumstances the employer may ask you to go to another doctor, another physician for an Independent Medical Examination and this is sort of a way for the employer to confirm that you have the limitations or restrictions that you are claiming that you have and also get a better understanding of how the those limitations impact its work. Independent Medical Examination sometimes is allowed, sometimes it’s not, and so it’s a separate topic we’ll cover it in a separate lecture.

Hopefully, you now have at least an understanding of what are your rights as an employee with respect to your medical circumstances, when they impact your employment. Please share with us your comments and questions and we’ll be happy to address those and thank you for watching, we’ll see you in the next lecture.

Reply in a Civil Action in Ontario – Basics for Beginners [video]

December 26th, 2017

What is a Reply in a civil action? When is it necessary? what are the circumstances when you serve and file a reply and, how to draft a Reply? These basic questions are answered in this video which is designed for people with no legal background.

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.

Show Notes:

N/A

Lecture Slides:

Have a question about this video?

The team at Formative LLP has created a free discussion forum where anyone can post a legal question and get feedback from the wider audience of self represented litigants.  Join the discussion today!

Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone this is Amer Mushtaq, from You Counsel. Today we’ll talk about the last step in a pleading, which is called a reply in a civil action in the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario. And as we have said in the previous lectures the concepts that we’re sharing with respect to the pleadings meaning the claim, the defense, the reply are very, very basic this is very broad overview of pleadings so you can understand the fundamental concepts. The pleadings when you’re drafting them could become very complex based on your legal issues and factual issues, but all of these lectures are really to give you a broader understanding of what these pleadings are about. And as I mentioned earlier we have lectures on starting a Civil Action in Ontario, some of the basic steps, how do you draft a claim, how do you draft a defense, and now we’re going to talk about how do you draft a reply and what is it that you need to keep in mind.

And we’ll begin with a disclaimer that this course is not legal advice, so if you have any specific questions you must contact a legal professional.

The example that we have used with respect to drafting of the claim and the defense was a very basic one. We took the example that Mary had loaned $100,000 to John. John had refused to pay money back and Mary went to Superior Court of Justice and commenced the court action. So we’ve gone through that process in previous lectures, and in the last lecture we had gone through the process where John had delivered, John had served and filed his Statement of Defense. And again for the purposes of Reply the key legislation you want to keep in mind is the Courts of Justice Act and the Rules of Civil Procedure, they’re both available online and you can Google them and read the relevant rules with respect to Reply.

So what is a Reply? A Reply is a reply to the Statement of Defense. You are replying to certain facts that were stated in the Statement of Defense and so essentially a reply is made by the plaintiff. And once a Reply is made that’s the end of it, and then the defense does not get another shot at replying to the Reply. And if there are things that the defense needs to change in their Statement of Defense then they can do so by amending their Statement of Defense. So there is an opportunity to amend your pleadings whether it’s the Statement of Claim, Statement of Defense, Reply, Counterclaim, or anything else and there are different rules that govern how those amendments are made, but the Reply is really the last step in the pleadings.

We’ll talk about timeline which is always important, we’ll talk about when a reply is needed and we’ll talk whether a reply is must or whether it’s optional and so we’ll discuss those points.

Let’s begin with the timeline which is crucial and will refer to Rule 25.04 Sub 3, let’s see if we can go to that rule, and it talks about the timing of the Reply, so 25.04 Sub 3 is here: “A Reply, if any shall be delivered within 10 days after service of the Statement of Defense, except where the defendant counterclaims, in which case a reply in defense to counterclaim if any shall be delivered within 20 days after service of the Statement of Defense and counterclaim.” So, in simple words, if you receive the Statement of Defense you literally have 10 days to prepare, serve, and file your Reply, and if you have received the counterclaim in addition to the defense then you have 20 days to do so. So 10 days for simple defense and 20 days when the defense also has a counterclaim.

Now when is Reply necessary? Rule 25.08 Sub 1 talks about when a reply is necessary. Let’s scroll down and see exactly what that rule says. Okay, where a Reply is necessary and 25.08 Sub 1, says “a party who intends to prove a version of facts different from that pleaded in the opposite party’s defense shall deliver a reply setting out the different version, unless it has already been pleaded in the claim.” So one of the key things to keep in mind that the defense has stated certain facts and now you want to quote or you want to state a different version of those facts then you can serve a Reply. But it’s important to know that if you have already dealt with those facts in your Statement of Claim, and then defense has just given a different version then you do not go back and then state another version of those facts or repeat the version. This is not an opportunity to repeat or deal with the facts that you have already dealt with. This is dealing with the facts that are newer and you want to say a different story.

We want to keep in mind the language “shall deliver reply”, which is in the rule, right. The rule says that you rely on these facts defense shall deliver, so the word “shall” means that you must. When you read the rules, the rules use the language of “shall” or “may.” So “may” when the word “may” is use it’s optional. When the word “shall” is used that’s mandatory. So you have to, if you want to rely on a different version of facts than what defense has said, you “shall” deliver a reply, you must deliver a reply and then use those facts.

Okay, another example when the reply is necessary Rule 25.08 Sub 2; let’s see what does that rule say. “The party who intends to reply in response to a defense on any matter that might, if not specifically pleaded, take the opposite party by surprise or raise an issue that has not been raised by previous pleading shall deliver a reply setting out the matter subject to sub rule so and so.” So what is this rule mean? That if you have now new facts, so the defense stated certain facts and then that gave rise to new facts, and if you don’t put them in reply and when your at trial and you bring those facts at trial, that will be surprising to the other side, then you “shall” – you must – bring those facts in your reply. And the second component that you want to understand is that if there are new issues because of what the defense has said in their defense, then you must bring a reply. So what is it that you want to understand broadly with respect to the pleadings? I had said in the first lecture that pleadings is really your story, this is your story where you’re telling the court why you need certain remedies that you’re asking. And the story has to be complete, whatever you have stated in the pleading, that’s all you’re relying on. So if there are facts that are not in the pleading and you want to rely on those facts you won’t be able to unless you have put them in your pleadings. So that’s why the opportunity to tell the complete story is in the pleadings, and for some reason if you were not able to tell the entire story or you realize facts later on you do have an opportunity to amend your pleadings, there is a mechanism to do that all the way up to trial and there are different rules for that and we’ll cover those later. But what you want to understand is that the concept of these pleadings is that nobody is surprised by the facts that the other side is alleging, there are no surprises. Each side, either you’re a plaintiff or the defendant, must know exactly what facts the other side is relying on, so that you can properly plead your case, so that’s the idea.

Okay and again remember the language of “shall deliver” so it’s mandatory. You must, if you are relying on new facts or you are dealing with new issues that are not already dealt with in your pleadings in your claim, then you shall, you must deliver a Reply.

Rule 25.08 Sub 3, “a party shall not deliver a Reply except where required to do so by sub rule (1) or (2).” So what is this rule saying? That look you just cannot come back and then put anything in the Reply just because you feel like you want to respond to the Statement of Defense no you cannot. So there are only two specific scenarios, which are in 25.08 Sub 1 and Sub 2, those are the only two scenarios where you are allowed to file a Reply or serve a Reply, and you must serve and file a Reply. But outside of that, you must not serve a Reply, so that’s important to keep in mind.

So what happens if you do not serve a Reply, and in many, many, many cases there is no reply, and Rule 25.08 Sub 4 deals with that and let’s look at that: “A party who does not deliver a reply within the prescribed time shall be deemed to deny the allegations of facts made in the defense of the opposite party.” So this is this is an important point to know, when you don’t serve a reply then that’s an automatic denial from your side that whatever is being said in the Statement of Defense you don’t agree with, so it’s a deemed denial, you don’t need to serve a Reply to say I don’t agree with the Statement of Defense and that’s why the specific rule is there, to make sure that you serve a Reply when it’s necessary and you don’t serve a Reply when it’s not necessary, and get the benefit of not serving a Reply as a deemed denial.

What are the steps to file a Reply? Obviously the first step is download the form, we have shown in previous lectures how do you download it, it’s available online. You draft a reply, you write your story down, you serve it on the defendant, you prepare your Affidavit of Service, print two copies and then file it in a court office and there’s no fee for filing a Reply.

Again a Reply is an important document as I said, it’s part of your pleadings, your entire story has to be covered in Reply. So its purpose is that you respond to the Statement of Defense and any new facts or any new issues that you want to deal with you do that, and the Reply completes your story.

Now the Rules of Pleadings, drafting of pleadings is the same for Claim, for Defense, and for Reply and we have covered those I’ll briefly go over these. You plead facts not evidence, your statements should be concise, you only plead facts that are relevant, you only plead facts that are material, and each allegation should be in a separate paragraph and those paragraphs must be consecutively numbered.

Now there’s one important part that I want you to remember and you I want to be very clear about it. Remember I said that 25.08 Sub 4 says that if you do not file a Reply it’s a deemed denial of the Statement of Defense; it is assumed that you are not agreeing to whatever statement is stated in the Statement of Defense. But when you do file a Reply then that deemed denial is gone. So what you must do is that if there are facts in the Statement of Defense that you don’t agree with you must state so in your Reply. And my common practice is that I start off my Reply by stating that the plaintiffs denies each and every allegation raised in the Statement of Defense, just to cover myself off, because I don’t want to miss out on a specific fact and I have not dealt with that fact in a Reply and then I expose myself to a sort of an agreement of that fact in the Statement of Defense. So I think it’s important to know that the deemed denial applies only when you have not served a Reply. When you’re serving your Reply then you want to deal with every single fact in the Statement of Defense even though you are raising your new facts or you’re providing a different version, you must say that “I disagree with paragraphs 1 to 27 or 1 to 5” or whatever paragraphs, but you must make sure that you have that, so keep that point in mind.

Okay so we’ve covered the concept of Reply, let me take you to the example that we’ve been using so that we can apply what we have learned a bit, and let’s start by looking at the Statement of Claim so that you can get a sense of when the Reply is needed and what are we doing in this case. So if you go through the Statement of Claim in the claim portion in the claim video that we have gone through you will notice that in that claim Mary had simply stated that John had, they’re childhood friends, John had borrowed money $100,000 he had promised that would return and then he has not returned it so he is liable for $1000,000. But when you read the defense you will notice that John has now raised some new facts that Mary had not dealt with in her Statement of Claim. So for instance he says that not only that Mary and he are friends but their parents were also, their fathers were also childhood friends, so Kozner and Smith’s fathers were also childhood friends, that’s an interesting fact. And then John goes on to say that 20 years ago his father had helped Mary’s father when he was going through financial difficulties and when John was going through financial difficulties in the near past then Mary agreed to help him out and this was the reason why this money was given as a gift. And everything was going smoothly until the families had a real breakdown in their relationship and it started off with some children fighting over hockey games and stuff like that. So essentially what you see is in John’s Statement of Defense he has now quoted new facts, which were not covered by Mary in her Statement of Claim, and then it’s important for Mary to deal with those. Is John telling the truth, is he correct in saying that their parents, their fathers, were childhood friends, is he correct in saying that John’s father had actually helped out Mary’s father 20 years ago? So all of these facts are important because when a judge is ruling, the judge is going to determine ‘A’ whether those facts are correct or not, and then decide whether this payment of $100,000 was indeed a loan or was it a gift? And so Mary in her Reply will be or “shall” if she wants to portray a version of facts different than what John is stating must serve her Reply and then tell her side of the story, and her story could be, you know, could have more factual information that is not covered in John’s Statement of Defense. So that’s a scenario where a reply must be served because you are dealing with as a plaintiff new facts, which were not covered in your Statement of Claim.

Okay, so we’ve covered some of the rules you can always look at Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 25 to 29 deals with pleadings, Rule 26 deals with amendments and we’ll cover that in a separate lecture. And then the conclusion of all of this is that pleadings are important you must have a basic understanding of the underlying legal principles because your facts are going to support or are required to support the legal conclusions that you want the court to draw and so you frame your facts accordingly. And if you’re not clear about the legal underpinnings of what you are arguing in the pleadings, then you must go seek advice from a lawyer, get a consultation, ask the lawyer to review your pleadings or get some coaching, but make sure that everything that you put in the pleading is properly in there, it’s covered, you’re not missing out on either any factual issues or legal issues that you need to deal with.

Hopefully, these lectures give you a good understanding of what pleadings are about, Defense, Claim, Reply. And we’ll keep building on this information. Please send us an email or put comments in YouTube so we can address some of the questions that arise in your mind and hopefully we’ll continue to benefit from these lectures. Thank you for watching.