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Late-Stage Summary Judgment Motions Questioned

In the July 6, 2012 issue of The Lawyers Weekly, specific mention is made of 1318214 Ontario Limited v. Sobeys Capital Incorporated, a case where The Honourable Justice David Brown discussed the reality of allocating scarce judicial resources to parties seeking late-stage summary judgment motions. His Honour points to the time-consuming nature of such motions, which take a significant amount of time for a judge to consider before and after the hearing. It appears that trial dates are languishing while litigants prefer to proceed with a summary judgment motion.

Since the relaxation of the summary judgment Rules, these types of motions are on the rise. But if the motion is unsuccessful, it is difficult to see the benefit for the parties and the judicial system. The result is that a lot of resources have been consumed without a tangible result.


In the Sobeys case Justice Brown gives some guidance to us about when it is appropriate to bring a summary judgment motion:


“…The principle of Proportionality of Rule 1.04(1.1), when coupled with the reality of scarce judicial resources and the risk that the motion might not end the action, impose on a party wishing to schedule a one day or longer Post-Discovery summary judgment motion an obligation to demonstrate, at a scheduling conference, that the benefits of allowing such a motion to proceed outweigh the risks that the motion might fail, thereby saddling the parties with an unnecessary layer of additional litigation costs.”

This ruling follows the principle laid down by the Court of Appeal in Combined Air Mechanical Services Inc. v. Flesch that we addressed in a previous blog.

Thanks for reading,

Natalia Angelini – Click here for more information on Natalia Angelini