Tag: New Years Resolutions
For the second year in a row, I have been given the privilege of writing our last blog of the year. As I sat down to write, I found myself pausing and reflecting on all the changes which have taken place over the last 366 days. Although we can all certainly count the personal changes in our lives, for me the most significant was recently becoming an Aunt to my wonderful and adorable nephew, in the media age, the ties that bind the world together are stronger than ever.
Google, then a little known company run out of a garage, launched a website over a decade ago that put a wealth of information at our fingertips. The website was so popular that in 2006 the verb “to google” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. It comes as no surprise then that, as is done every year, Google Zeitgeist recently released a video titled “Year in Review”, which documents but a few of the most prevalent of the 2 trillion-plus searches conducted in 2012. Whether you googled this past year to prove your correctness in a heated dinner conversation, to figure out what it meant for the Ontario legislature to be prorogued, or to find that perfect Christmas gift, it is almost impossible to not have been among the many searches that contributed to this video.
Opening with Felix Baumgartner’s epic fall from space, moving to Oscar Pistorius’s ground-breaking run as the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics, and quickly flashing to PSY and the amazing phenomenon of ‘Gangham Style’, even the first few seconds of this video reminded me that 2012 was a year to remember.
As estate litigators, we spend a great deal of time reflecting on relationships and family dynamics; in particular, the items that our clients want to remember of their parents, sibling or friends. At the end of the day, finances play a big role in litigation, but win or lose or somewhere in between, I find that it is the memories and the related sentiment that my clients’ hold dearest. As Google reminds us what we globally searched for most this year, when you look back, what will be your favourite memories of 2012, what will you hold dear?
Wishing you a safe and prosperous 2013,
Nadia M. Harasymowycz
As all litigators in the province of Ontario likely know by now, January 1, 2010 ushers in not only a new decade but New Rules of Civil Procedure. The New Rules apply to all matters, regardless of when they were commenced.
The amendments to the Rules effected by Ont. Reg. 438/08 are the most extensive and significant since the Rules were adopted in 1985. The fundamental goal of the reform is to make the civil justice system more affordable and accessible for Ontarians.
Some of the more significant changes are as follows:
Proportionality – In April of 2009 we saw a movement toward proportionality of time and expense with the interests at issue in estate litigation upon the introduction of the New Practice Direction for the Estates List of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. New Rule 1.04(1.1) brings this factor into play for litigation in all jurisdictions and mandates that Court Orders and Directions be proportionate to the importance and complexity of issues and amounts at stake.
Summary Judgment – Rule 20 expands the Court’s discretion to assess credibility, weigh evidence, conduct mini-trials with oral evidence, and award substantial indemnity costs against a party acting unreasonably or in bad faith.
Expert Evidence – Experts must provide fair objective and non-partisan opinion, give opinion evidence only on matters that are within their expertise, and assist the Court as reasonably required. This duty to the Court prevails over any obligation experts owe to the party who retained them. Expert reports must be filed 90 days before the pre-trial conference and responding expert reports must be served 60 days prior to the pre-trial conference.
Discovery – Among the many changes regarding discovery is a new definition of relevance. The phrase “relating to any matter in issue in the action” has been replaced with “relevant to any matter in issue in the action”. This changes the test to one of simple relevance. Proportionality comes into play again in Rule 29.2, which sets out the considerations that must be made in determining questions to be answered or documents to be produced. Parties must agree to a written discovery plan (Rule 29.1) and there is a 7-hour time limit on oral examinations for discovery (R. 31.05.1).
Time – Calculation of time pursuant to Rule 3.01(1)(b) for notice periods of 7 days or less excludes holidays. There are also earlier deadlines for service and filing of materials for motions (Rule 37) Applications (Rule 38) and appeals from interlocutory orders (Rule 61).
If your New Year’s resolution is to learn the New Rules and their impact on your estates practice, you should attend the OBA Trusts and Estates Section Seminar, "Stay on top of the New Rules of court" on January 6, 2010.
Program Chair, Jane Martin, and speakers, Mr. Justice David M. Brown and Madam Justice Lois B. Roberts of the Superior Court of Justice, and Hull & Hull’s own Suzana Popovic-Montag, will guide you through the changes and provide an opportunity to ask questions regarding implications for estates practitioners.
For more on this topic see Gary Watson’s summary of the amendments and Marni Pernica’s recent article in OBA’s Deadbeat magazine. Previous Hull & Hull commentary by Rick Bickhram and Paul Trudelle can be found here and here.
I suspect that following the New Rules is one Resolution you will be sure to keep!
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information about Sharon Davis.
Happy New Year!
It promises to be an interesting year in estates law with exciting changes headed our way. Under the guidance of the Honourable Mr. Justice Brown, the Estates List Practice Direction is being updated and should be implemented before the end of the year.
The Ontario Bar Association is starting a listserv for Trusts & Estates section members. This email based mailing list will allow members to post questions or share their thoughts with other members. Members can expect an email later this month from the Ontario Bar Association with details on how to subscribe.
The Law Society’s new client identification and verification requirements came into force on December 31, 2008. The Law Society is offering a teleseminar on January 13, 2009 to discuss the new requirements and to assist with any questions practitioners may have.
Thanks for reading,