I've written a few posts recently about access to justice and the current flaws in our system. In the past month those flaws have reared their ugly head in my practice.
1. Where are your Documents?
I act for the plaintiff. In mid-August I sent my client's productions to opposing counsel and requested his client's productions and discovery dates. Between mid-August and mid-November I followed up on eight separate occasions. I was given a variety of excuses that "the documents were coming" / "meeting with my client next week" / "should have them for you next week". Alas, they never came and I had no choice but to schedule a motion. When we contacted the Toronto court for a date for a 20 minute motion, we were given a date in mid-March, four months away. Sadly, by the time we get to court the defendant will have been able to successfully stall this lawsuit for 2/3 of a year.
2. No Judge Available Despite 8 Months of Waiting
I act for the defendants, who reside in the USA. They were sued in Ontario by an Ontario corporation. I was instructed to bring a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed on the basis that Ontario has no jurisdiction over the subject matter and that the lawsuit ought to be brought in the State in which my clients reside. A "long" motion (anything over an hour is considered long) was scheduled back in the Spring. We were given a set time on a set date in December for three hours of argument. After waiting almost eight months for our motion date we were advised by the court on the morning before the scheduled date that no judge would be available and that the motion would need to be rescheduled into 2013.
3. No Judge Available Despite 23 Months of Waiting
We act for the plaintiff. In January, 2011 we set our matter down for trial – in other words, we advised the court we were ready for trial and wanted a trial date. Our trial was subsequently placed on the trial list for November, 2012. We were number one on the list, meaning that we would be called first out of all the trials scheduled for November. The list was scheduled to run over three weeks. Our trial was scheduled to last two weeks. We expected to start on the first day of the trial sittings. We did not start on the first day, or the second, or the third, or the fourth. We were told no judge was available and we were on standby. We also found out that we were not just number one on the list, we were the ONLY trial on the list. As the days passed it became apparent that we would not be able to start and finish our trial before the November sittings list would come to an end and that an adjournment would be inevitable. We are now scheduled to go to trial in November, 2013…. if someone can find us a judge.