Resources & Insights

Civil Litigation & COVID-19

In the current climate of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 with daily updates to protocol and regulations, it can be difficult to find peace of mind. In addition to the social and political uncertainty, many are sitting with unresolved legal matters causing them additional stress.

Although the courts have made the decision to suspend regular operations for the health and safety of all involved, this doesn’t necessarily mean that steps can’t be taken toward the resolution of your legal dispute.

Courts have suspended the hearing of non-urgent matters, but on April 2nd it expanded the list to accommodate the hearing of some pre-determined non-urgent civil matters by the Superior Court of Justice. All matters are to be heard remotely by way of telephone or video conference, and court filings will be conducted via e-mail to ensure the wellbeing and safety of litigants and counsel.

Claims and Statements of Claim may be filed through the Small Claims Court online filing service or the Civil Claims Online Portal, depending on the level of court. This means that we are able to commence your claim even under current measures, or alternatively that you may be served with a claim which you need to defend. Although timelines for filing defences have been suspended, our civil litigation department remains up and running, and able to begin the work to bring you peace of mind in resolving your legal dispute.

The original urgent civil matters to be heard by the courts pertained to public health and safety and COVID-19. The list has now been expanded to provide for the hearing of the following:

• Civil pre-trials originally scheduled for March 16 to June 1, limited to the issue of settlement of the action and allowed only where parties are represented by counsel;

• Rule 7 Motions where judicial approval is required for a settlement involving an infant or other party under disability and where there is urgency to ensure funds can be accessed for that party; and

• Estate matters where there is urgency.

In addition to formal court proceedings, we have been successfully conducting Alternative Dispute Resolution and discoveries online in a safe and secure fashion, and are able to achieve resolutions to disputes for negotiated settlements.

If you have any questions or require assistance with a legal matter, please don’t hesitate to contact our civil litigation team at Barriston Law.

Jacklyn Tuckey and Josh Valler