Significant amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure have been made which will come into force on January 1, 2015. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the more important changes and how they may affect your practice. The complete set of amendments is published in the September 6, 2014 edition of the Ontario Gazette.1 Rule 48 – Administrative Dismissals The amendments which will likely have the most impact on your civil litigation practice are the revocation of Rules 48.14 (Action not on Trial List) and 48.15 (Dismissal of an action for Delay). In their place will be a new Rule 48.14. You should carefully review the new Rule 48.14 and update your tickler system as you will not be given any notice of upcoming administrative dismissals.
Under the new Rule 48.14, Statements of Claim will contain the following warning: “TAKE NOTICE: THIS ACTION WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE DISMISSED if it has not been set down for trial or terminated by any means within five years after the action was commenced unless otherwise ordered by the court.”.2 For actions started after January 1, 2015, there will be no status hearings. You will not be given notice that your action will be dismissed. The Registrar will automatically dismiss your action after the five-year anniversary of issuance of the Statement of Claim. For any action started before January 1, 2015, which has not been struck off the trial list or scheduled for a status hearing by January 1, 2015, it will be dismissed on January 1, 2017 without notice. If you had a matter struck from the trial list before January 1, 2015, you must restore it to the trial list by January 1, 2017 or it will be dismissed without notice.
1 A PDF version of the September 6, 2014 of the Ontario Gazette is available for free at the following link: http://files.ontariogovernment.ca/gazette_docs/ontariogazette_147-36_wa.pdf.
2 The new 2015 Statement of Claim form is available in PDF and Word format for free at the following link: http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/forms/civil/14a/RCP-E-14A-0614.pdf.