Changes to the Rules of Litigation
Rule 76 (Simplified Procedure) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, RRO 1990, Reg 194 (the “Rules”) provides for a streamlined process for claims of a certain monetary value. Effective January 1, 2020, Rule 76 of the Rules was amended, with the goal being to further reduce the costs and time associated with litigation. Below is a summary of some of the changes:
- The monetary value of claims has been increased to $200,000 (from $100,000);
- The time limit for oral discovery has been increased to 3 hours (from 2 hours);
- The choice between ordinary trials and summary trials is eliminated – all trials will, essentially, proceed summarily;
- The duration of a trial cannot exceed 5 days;
- The option for a jury trial is eliminated (except for actions for slander, libel, malicious arrest, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment, which are to proceed as ordinary actions);
- The recovery of costs cannot exceed $50,000 (subject to Rule 76.13 of the Rules or another Act); and
- The recovery of disbursements cannot exceed $25,000, exclusive of HST (subject to Rule 76.13 of the Rules or another Act).
In addition, pre-trial conferences are to be scheduled within 180 days after an action is set down for trial, and at least 30 days prior to the pre-trial conference, the parties are to agree to a proposed trial management plan. This proposed plan is to be filed with the court at least 5 days prior to the pre-trial conference and is to list every witness whose evidence a party intends to adduce at trial as well as the proposed division of time for opening statements, evidence in chief, cross-examination, re-examination and oral argument. Parties will no longer be subject to the time limits prescribed by the Rules as they pertained to the presentation of evidence and argument.
While the pre-trial conference judge and trial judge can vary certain aspects of the trial management plan, neither can extend the duration of the trial to exceed the 5-day limit.