The Practice Directions for the Toronto Region states,
Parties must consult with each other to select a return date convenient to all parties and which will permit all parties to file all necessary materials and conduct any examinations before the return date. At the time of booking, a realistic estimate of the time required by all parties for argument must be provided.
Most other regions have similar guidelines on consultation for scheduling.
Finding a single date when all counsel are available, and then also securing that date from the Trial Scheduling Office, can be challenging, especially when there are multiple parties to an action. The situation can get worse towards the end of the year, when motion court availability is even more limited due to trial sittings and holidays.
I’ve been trying out an online application to schedule my motions, Doodle, and it seems to be working well. I’m aware of client confidentiality issues, so I don’t name any of the parties and simply ask counsel to indicate which dates work for them out of an available selection that I provide after consulting with the court. As soon as we confirm a date I close and delete the poll.
I already spend countless hours in my day sending e-mails back and forth, and playing phone tag, on a number of scheduling issues. Doodle has already proved itself useful to me, and it might be a tool worth trying for others out there as well.