A motion to transfer an estate matter that was commenced in the Brantford Superior Court of Justice to the Toronto Estates List was recently considered in the Estate of Byung Sun Im, 2018 ONSC 2223.

The procedure to be followed in a Rule 13.1.02 motion to transfer is set out in the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction (at Part III, B) when the request to transfer pertains to a proceeding in the Central East, Central West, Central South and Toronto Regions.  Motions to transfer should be brought, in writing, to the court location which the moving party is seeking to transfer the matter.  Therefore, if you are seeking to transfer a matter to the Toronto Estates List, then the written motion should be filed with the Toronto Estates List.

Given that the plaintiff (or applicant) has a prima facie right to select the venue of a proceeding (subject to any applicable statutory requirements), the onus is on the party that seeks a transfer to satisfy the test set out in Rule 13.1.02(2). 

In this particular case, the action was predominately based on an estate trustee’s dealings with estate assets.  The deceased, the estate trustee, the majority of the beneficiaries, and the main estate assets were located in Toronto.  The one person in Brantford was the plaintiff.

However, various interim orders and smaller issues were dealt with in Brantford.  Prior proceedings related to this Estate were also decided and disposed of in Brantford.  Justice Firestone agreed that the location of the assets had little bearing on how the assets ought to be divided.  He also noted that there was an absence of evidence related to the convenience of the witnesses in addition to the convenience and location of the parties themselves.  The convenience of counsel is not a basis to order the transfer of a proceeding.

 

Ultimately, the moving party failed to satisfy the test set out in Rule 13.1.02(2):

“… the court may, on any party’s motion, make an order to transfer the proceeding to a county other than the one where it was commenced, if the court is satisfied,

(a) that it is likely that a fair hearing cannot be held in the county where the proceeding was commenced; or

(b) that a transfer is desirable in the interest of justice, having regard to,

(i) where a substantial part of the events or omissions that gave rise to the claim occurred,

(ii) where a substantial part of the damages were sustained,

(iii) where the subject-matter of the proceeding is or was located,

(iv) any local community’s interest in the subject-matter of the proceeding,

(v) the convenience of the parties, the witnesses and the court,

(vi) whether there are counterclaims, crossclaims, or third or subsequent party claims,

(vii) any advantages or disadvantages of a particular place with respect to securing the just, most expeditious and least expensive determination of the proceeding on its merits,

(viii) whether judges and court facilities are available at the other county, and

(ix) any other relevant matter.  O. Reg. 14/04, s. 10.”

Thanks for reading!  For those of you who are also interested in the Practice Directions for the Toronto Estates List, you may access them here.

Doreen So