Ontario Has Announced Significant Changes to Rule 76 Simplified Procedures Action
October 25, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
The Province of Ontario announced major changes to Rule 76 Simplified Procedures Action. The changes which take effect January 1, 2020, will have a significant impact on the litigation of personal injury matters that do not involve threshold issues.
These changes are the result of discussions with stakeholders particularly those in personal injury law with the intent of making litigation more efficient and less costly. Lawyers will have to examine their case loads with an eye to the impact of the changes. Particular attention will need to be given the 5 day trial limit, the new limits on costs and disbursements, and to manage the expectations of their clients. There may be impacts to litigation commencing outside major urban centres.
The changes to Rule 76 are part of a larger move to streamline and reduce the cost of litigation in Ontario. Significant amendments include raising the monetary jurisdiction in Rule 76 cases to $200,000 and the elimination of most jury trials for actions below that amount. Jury trials will continue to be permitted for actions below $200,000 that involve slander, libel malicious arrest or prosecution and false imprisonment.
Other significant changes include:
- Rule 76 trials will now be limited to 5 days maximum, and no party may recover costs exceeding $50,000 or disbursements in excess of $25,000 – both exclusive of HST.
- The time limit for oral discovery by any party is increase to three hours from two.
- Pre-trial conferences must be scheduled in accordance with rule 50.02 (180 after the action is set down for trial)
- The parties must agree to a trial management plan containing lists of all witnesses and experts and the division of time between opening statements, evidence in chief by affidavits or discovery transcripts, cross-examinations, re-examinations and oral arguments at least 30 days before the pre-trial conference.
- There will be no distinction between ordinary and summary trials. Parties will continue to make opening statements, adduce evidence by affidavit, cross examine if adverse in interest, re-examine witnesses cross-examined, make oral argument, and when given leave by the trial judge to adduce proper reply evidence in a defendant’s case.
- The trial judge may vary any of the time limits set out in a trial management plan except for the 5 day limit.
- At least 5 days in advance of the pre-trial conference the parties are to file a copy of the proposed trial management plan, affidavits of documents, documents, expert reports, and a three page statement of the issues and the party’s position.
- The judge or master may fix the number of witnesses except for experts, fix dates for the delivery of their affidavits, fix a trial date, and approve or modify trial management plans except for the 5 day maximum trial limit.
- Trial records must now contain the approved trial management plan and expert affidavits in addition to the trial contents.
You can find more information on the changes to Rule 76 Simplified Procedures Action here.
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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.