There are frequent complaints about the costs of resolving disputes in Canada’s courts. It is prohibitively expensive for many Canadians to hire a lawyer to take their case to court.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada will release two decisions that will explain the test for obtaining summary judgment in Ontario. These cases were decided under Ontario’s new rules for summary judgment that came into force in 2010. The new rules were prompted by findings and recommendations made in 2007 by the Honourable Coulter A. Osborne, Q.C. , having “access to justice” as an overarching issue. The changes sought to tip the balance more in favour of summary motions to decide cases, as opposed to requiring virtually all claims to proceed through the “forensic machinery of a trial.”
The results of the Supreme Court’s decisions on Thursday will have an impact on thousands of summary judgment motions in Ontario and other provinces with similar regimes. It is also a perfect opportunity for the Supreme Court to comment on access to justice, a frequent and developing theme in speeches and papers given by members of the Court. A summary of the “lead case” is linked below: