Tag: practice direction

07 Jan

Change in Practice Direction – How to refer to “Masters” in court

Stuart Clark General Interest Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

If you are anything like me you have previously struggled with how you are to refer to Masters in court. Referring to them as “Master” always felt a little bit awkward, while at the same time you were always not sure if the more formal “Your Honour” was reserved solely for Judges.

If you have ever experienced similar uncertainty wonder no more, as the Consolidated Practice Direction for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was recently amended to clarify how you are to refer to Masters in court. In accordance with the revised item 114 of the Practice Direction, it is confirmed that you are to refer to Masters as “Your Honour” in English and “Votre Honneur” in French.

Now that the potential embarrassment of using the incorrect honorific in referring to Masters has been resolved, now may also be an opportune time to provide a reminder that in accordance with item 58 of the same Consolidated Practice Direction lawyers are not required to gown when appearing before a Master.

So in summary, in accordance with the updated Consolidated Practice Direction you are to refer to Masters as “Your Honour” when appearing before them, while at the same time you are not required to gown. Consider yourself properly prepared for you next appearance before a Master.

Thank you for reading.

Stuart Clark

26 Nov

Words to Practice By Regarding the Toronto Estates List

Doreen So Estate & Trust, General Interest, In the News, Litigation, News & Events Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

The Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas McEwen spoke at the Estates Litigation Networking Reception hosted by the Advocate’s Society on November 23, 2015.

Justice McEwen was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario in June, 2009 and he is currently the Civil Team Leader and Head of the Estates List in the Toronto Region.  Justice McEwen spoke at length on various issues that he wishes to convey to the estates bar which is my pleasure to reiterate on this blog.

Given the volume of matters on the Estates List, Justice McEwen noted that the Court should be provided with notice of a settlement as they occur, rather than last minute notice near the time of a scheduling appointment or hearing.  He advised that too many days on the list are being lost by last minute cancellations.  Notice of a settlement may be provided to the Court by e-mail to toronto.estates@ontario.ca.

Moreover, he spoke of the fact that each 9:30 scheduling appointment is allocated with ten minutes of time and counsel are expected to converse with one another and resolve as much as possible prior to entering the Judge’s chambers.

In cases where there are issues relating to persons under disability on a motion for directions, the Court prefers that counsel request 10:00 a.m. hearings, rather than 9:30 a.m. scheduling appointments, in order to provide the Judge with 20 minutes to canvas such issues with counsel.  Moreover, it allows the Judge to have the benefit of being able to review the full record in advance.

Lastly, communication between counsel is key in order to avoid unnecessary motions for directions.

Click here to review the Consolidated Practice Direction Concerning the Estates List in the Toronto Region as well as the relevant parts of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction, the Consolidated Practice Direction for Divisional Court Proceedings as well as any other relevant Toronto region-specific Practice Directions and Guides.

Thank you for reading!

Doreen So

22 Mar

Practice Direction Retrospective: Scheduling Appointments, Hearing Matters and Adjournments (Part 1 of 2)

Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust, Litigation Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

It has now been almost a year since the April 1, 2009 Practice Direction Concerning the Estates List of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto so I thought I’d start the week with a with a two-part blog containing a few general observations and some practice tips for Toronto. Today’s topic is Scheduling Appointments.

The Scheduling Appointment was created to reduce adjournments and to make the court system more efficient and less costly. It preceded Ontario’s new Rules of Civil Procedure and had many of the same goals in mind, most notably proportionality, which is now an overarching consideration. 

A Scheduling Appointment is ten minutes long and is a very versatile mechanism to allow you to get before the Court relatively quickly to obtain assistance. It can be used to “speak to a matter”, to set down a timetable or to obtain a consent order. They can be booked on two days’ notice and generally you can get on the list within a week or two.

Adjourning a Scheduling Appointment

  • If a Scheduling Appointment was booked through OSCAR or the Estates office, you can adjourn it administratively by filing your confirmation form cancelling the Scheduling Appointment or adjourning it to another date. It is best to do this as far in advance as possible. Once you file the confirmation form, you cannot easily amend it to get it off the door list. You should check OSCAR the day before the scheduled date to make sure the cancellation has been noted and the matter is not on the list for the day you seek to adjourn. If you fail to appear on a Scheduling Appointment, the Court can set a timetable or a hearing date in your absence.
  • You can adjourn the Scheduling Appointment to a specific date and note this on your confirmation form but this is not necessary. If you are in negotiations or are otherwise not ready to address the matter, you should note on your confirmation form that you will bring it back to a Scheduling Appointment when the parties are ready. This will avoid endless re-scheduling of Scheduling Appointments. Since they are quick and easy to get, no need to schedule them way in advance.  
  • If a Scheduling Appointment has been scheduled by the Court, counsel should appear to speak to an adjournment request. Although the Practice Direction doesn’t specifically say this, it has been the de facto procedure adopted.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in tomorrow’s blog about adjournments of Hearing Matters, and some general tips when appearing in Court on adjournments.

Have a great week!

Sharon Davis

Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.



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