Change of Venue Motions – What You Need to Know as of July 1, 2014

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The Superior Court of Justice has recently weighed in on the issue of transferring actions in certain regions within Ontario in the Practice Directions which are effective as of July 1st, 2014. The Practice Direction applies to all motions to transfer a civil proceeding in the Central East, Central West, Central South and Toronto Regions.

In the past, there were a significant number of requests to transfer which were filed on consent of the parties. The new Practice Direction clarifies that even if the motion is being brought on consent, the moving party must satisfy the onus that the transfer is desirable in the interest of justice, having regard to the factors listed in Rule 13.1.02(2)(b). These are:

  1. where a substantial part of the events or omissions that gave rise to the claim occurred,
  2. where a substantial part of the damages were sustained,
  3. where the subject-matter of the proceeding is or was located,
  4. any local community’s interest in the subject-matter of the proceeding,
  5. the convenience of the parties, the witnesses and the court,
  6. whether there are counterclaims, crossclaims, or third or subsequent party claims,
  7. any advantages or disadvantages of a particular place with respect to securing the just, most expeditious and least expensive determination of the proceeding on its merits,
  8. whether judges and court facilities are available at the other county, and
  9. any other relevant matter.

In a supporting Affidavit, the moving party must address each of these factors, clarify the stage of the proceeding and explain why the proceeding was originally commenced in the specific region. Further, the Practice Direction outlines that the Affidavit should identify the estimated length of trial, whether it is a jury trial and the number of parties/counsel. The Affidavit does not need to address the availability of judges and court facilities.

The Practice Direction indicates that the motion should be heard by the Regional Senior Judge. To ensure the prompt determination of the issue, the matter shall be brought in writing and responding parties are “strongly encouraged” to file and rely exclusively on written submissions.

Finally, the Practice Direction encourages lawyers to also submit a scanned version of the motion materials and submit on a USB stick to assist in facilitating the Regional Senior Judge to efficiently disburse of these motions.

While the Practice Direction does not apply to all regions, it is best practice to ensure that your materials comply with the Practice Direction regardless of the venues involved.

 

Topics:  Canada, Transfer of Venue, Venue

Published In: Civil Procedure Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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