Case Conferences Can Be a Valuable Tool in Estate Litigation

March 26, 2019 Christina Canestraro Estate Litigation Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

I recently attended a panel discussion with judges of Toronto’s Commercial and Estate Lists, the purpose of which was to explore tips for effective practice and advocacy. A key takeaway from this discussion was that case conferences are a valuable tool in a litigator’s toolbox, particularly when litigation becomes contentious.

Case conferences are governed by Rule 50 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The purpose of Rule 50 is to promote settlement of some or all of the issues in dispute without a hearing, and to obtain orders or directions to ensure that any necessary hearing is expeditious, orderly, and efficient.

Case Conferences in Estate Litigation
Case conferences are a valuable tool for parties who are looking to narrow the issues before the court, establish a timetable, or potentially reach a full and final settlement.

Rule 50.13 dictates that a judge may direct a case conference before a judge or case management master, in either an action or application, on his or her own initiative or at a party’s request. A judge can direct a case conferences at any stage of the litigation. Pursuant to Rule 50.13(5), at a case conference, the judge or case management master may:

  • identify the issues, noting those that are contested and those that are not;
  • explore methods to resolve the contested issues;
  • if possible, secure the parties’ agreement on a specific schedule of events in the proceeding;
  • establish a timetable for the proceeding; and
  • review and, if necessary, amend an existing timetable.

As discussed by my colleague, Kira Domratchev, in her blog on Rule 49 offers to settle, Ontario is a jurisdiction where parties are encouraged to settle their legal disputes prior to reaching the ultimate hearing of a matter. Case conferences are a valuable tool for parties who are looking to narrow the issues before the court, establish a timetable, or potentially reach a full and final settlement.

Thank you for reading.

Christina Canestraro

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