The Rules of Civil Procedure govern the procedure for starting a civil law suit in Ontario. This is any legal proceedings between two or more private persons (including corporations). Every lawyer who practices civil litigation will have a copy of the rules in their office. There are dozens of rules with hundreds of sub-rules that govern every aspect of a trial and the process leading up to it. The rules are designed to achieve a fair process through technical requirements. The process is typically long and expensive.
In 2010, the Ontario government introduced a new rule designed to make the process faster and cheaper for any civil law suit claims under $100,000. The simplified procedure, as it was called, eliminates many of the requirements concerning discovery and procedure. This streamlined process provides litigants with an efficient mechanism for resolving their claims.
The important elements of the simplified procedure are:
- The is no discovery or cross-examination
- There is automatic dismissal for delay
- There is a lower threshold for summary judgment
Litigants should be aware that the simplified procedure is mandatory for any action for less than $100,000. Failure to comply with the rule will result in cost consequences. This is designed to streamline the court system so that small claims do not clog up the system. Litigants should also be aware that the simplified procedure does not apply to class proceedings, construction lien actions, case managed actions, family law actions, small claims court actions and applications to the court. A claim under the simplified procedure can be filed with the Superior Court of Justice.
If you feel that you have a claim under the simplified procedure you should seek legal advice from a lawyer who practice civil litigation. They are experts on the rules of civil procedure and can help you resolve your claim in a timely and cost effective manner.