How to Dismiss Frivolous Proceedings Quickly & Effectively
With the amendments to the summary judgment rules made some time ago, we are seeing more of these types of motions being brought with a view to terminating litigation short of a trial. The trouble with these motions is that they often involve costly and time-intensive steps, resulting in an exercise that may take several months and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Hence, it is a motion brought in select cases applying careful consideration to the facts, law and risks.
Although there are certain other mechanisms available to us to attempt to narrow the scope of litigation or terminate it altogether, I have found that none is more swift than Rule 2.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The process is, unless the court orders otherwise, conducted entirely in writing. It is simple:
· After the initiation of a lawsuit a defendant/respondent can write a letter to the registrar setting out why the proceeding ought to be dismissed (alternatively, the court may, on its own initiative, stay or dismiss a proceeding);
· The court may either decide the matter based upon such letter alone or after seeking further information e.g. the court can direct the registrar to give notice to the plaintiff/applicant that the court is considering making the order;
· The plaintiff/applicant can then file written submissions within 15 days responding to the notice (no more than 10 pages in length);
· The court may direct the registrar to give a copy of the submissions to any other party (this is not mandatory, so you may obtain an outcome without ever seeing the opposing side’s argument); and
· The defendant/respondent can file written submissions within 10 days responding to the plaintiff’s submissions (no more than 10 pages in length), and shall give a copy of the submissions to the plaintiff/applicant.
After all is said and done a decision can be rendered within a few weeks and with minimal expense. I have seen no other mechanism that can achieve as quick and cost-effective an outcome in clear cases of frivolous, vexatious or abusive proceedings, making Rule 2.1 a most welcome addition to the Rules.
Thanks for reading,