Canada: The Civil Trial In Ontario: The Culture Shift From The "Sport Of Kings" Towards The "One Judge Model"

Last Updated: January 29 2019
Article by Macdonald R.I. Allen

Effective February 1, 2019, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will implement the Provincial Civil Case Management Pilot – One Judge Model (the "Pilot"). Civil litigants may apply to participate in the Pilot in which a single judge will have carriage of the matter from its acceptance into the Pilot through to trial, including the procedural management and administration of the case through the civil court system.

The Pilot is another step towards reducing the civil court system's delay, expense, and scarcity of resources and improving the orderly and efficient resolution of civil disputes. The time it takes to advance a civil matter to trial, and the cost associated with the procedure have led to proliferation of methods of alternative dispute resolution, a reduction in the number of civil trials and a general inability for regular citizens to engage in protracted litigation. "[P]rotracted litigation has become the sport of kings in the sense that only kings or equivalent can afford it."1

Case management has been discussed in Ontario as a means to improve the efficient resolution of disputes since at least 1988.2 In 1991, the Commercial List was established in the Toronto Region. Cases on the Commercial List have benefitted from a judiciary that is engaged in matters through chamber's appointments, and informal and formal case management. It is anticipated that a judge who determines a substantive component of a proceeding on the Commercial List will continue to hear all subsequent substantive components in that proceeding.3

In 2010, the Rules of Civil Procedure were updated to include a streamlined process for civil case management under Rule 77 applicable to actions and applications in Ottawa, Toronto and the County of Essex. Under Rule 77.06(2), a judge designated to case manage a case cannot preside at the trial of the action, except with the written consent of all the parties.

In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada commented in Hyrniak v Mauldin that a "culture shift is required in order to create an environment promoting timely and affordable access to the civil justice system."4

The introduction of the Pilot on February 1, 2019 may be the beginning of the culture shift in Ontario. Parties that apply for, and are accepted into the Pilot will have one judge that is assigned to case manage the action and preside over all pre-trial hearings, case management conferences, and the trial. The Pilot includes the following additional features:

  • a different judge will preside over case conferences solely dedicated to settlement;
  • no formal interlocutory motions will be scheduled without the approval of the case management judge – informal procedures will be used, including meetings in chambers or teleconferences;
  • trial dates will be fixed at a relatively early stage of the proceedings along with a schedule for completing necessary steps prior to trial.

The Pilot Practice Advisory indicates that a variety of factors will be considered when determining whether to include a case in the Pilot, including:

  • The complexity of the issues of fact or law;
  • The importance to the public of the issues of fact or law;
  • The number and type of parties or prospective parties, and whether they are represented;
  • The number of proceedings involving the same or similar parties or causes of action;
  • The amount of intervention by the court that the proceeding is likely to require;
  • The time required for discovery, if applicable, and for preparation for trial or hearing;
  • In the case of an action, the number of expert witnesses and other witnesses;
  • The time required for the trial or hearing; and
  • Whether there has been substantial delay in the conduct of the proceeding.5

The Pilot Practice Advisory supplements the existing region-specific practice directions and existing civil case management provisions under the Rules of Civil Procedure.

The benefits of the one judge model were discussed in a report of the Judiciary Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers titled, Working Smarter But not Harder in Canada: the Development of a Unified Approach to Case Management in Civil Litigation. The report identifies several benefits to the one judge model, including, but not limited to:

  • reducing the number, length and complexity of interlocutory disputes and motions;
  • controlling the behaviour of the parties;
  • ensuring that timelines and deadlines are imposed and adhered to; and
  • allowing the case management judge to become familiar with the case, thereby increasing efficiency and consistency.6

The Pilot is a welcome development towards improving the efficient resolution of civil disputes in Ontario, and we encourage all stakeholders to consider the Pilot for their cases. The Pilot is expected to run for a period of two years.

Would your case benefit from the Pilot?


1 Kerr v Danier Leather Inc. 2007 SCC 44, at para 63, as referred to in a report of the Judiciary Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers, "Working Smarter but not Harder in Canada: The Development of a Unified Approach to Case Management in Civil Litigation" (American College of Trial Lawyers, 2016) at page 4 [the "ACTL Report"].

2 The Joint Committee on Court Reform, "Report to the Attorney General of Ontario" (The Law Society of Upper Canada, 1988) as referred to in the ACTL Report at pages 9-10.

3 Consolidated Practice Direction Concerning the Commercial List, online: Ontario Superior Court of Justice

4 Hyrniak v Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, at para 1, as referred to in the ACTL Report at page 4.

5 Practice Advisory Concerning the Provincial Civil Case Management Pilot – One Judge Model, online: Ontario Superior Court of Justice, .

6 ACTL Report at page 7.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
24 Oct 2019, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

WeirFoulds’ Commercial Litigation Practice Group is hosting their Fall 2019 Seminar and Networking Reception on October 24, 2019 in Toronto.

28 Oct 2019, Conference, Toronto, Canada
CAN-TECH Law is hosting its annual conference in Toronto on October 28 and 29, 2019. Join our Partner and President of CAN-TECH, James Kosa, and associate and conference committee member, Lisa Danay Wallace, for this exciting event.
28 Oct 2019, Other, Toronto, Canada

Delegates will include CNAR members, provincial and territorial regulatory bodies, other non-profit organizations engaged in regulatory work, federal/provincial/territorial government representatives and others with an interest in regulatory issues.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions