Two-year trial deadline repealed under new rule change
By yamri Taddese
ome lawyers are expressing
relief following the repeal
of rules that automatically
dismissed actions for delay
after two years if they hadn't made
their way onto a trial list.
"It's an improvement on a situ-
ation that became unworkable not
only for lawyers facing dismissals
but also for the courts, for master
courts that have had to deal with
the ramifications of those automatic
dismissals," says Andrew Murray, a
partner at Lerners LLP.
As of this year, parties have
five years to set an action down
for trial. "As of January 1st, 2015,
Rule 48.15 [of the Rules of Civil
Proc edure] is repealed entirely,"
wrote Superior Court Master
Donald Short in Humphrey v.
"Rule 48.14 is also repealed and
replaced with a simpler rule with
longer time frames," he added.
"Under the new rule, each state-
ment of claim in the boilerplate por-
tion at the outset of that document
will contain a notice that the action
will be dismissed five years after it
is commenced unless it has been set
down for trial or otherwise disposed
of or there is an order extending the
time. The dismissal will be automat-
ic with no further notice."
Some lawyers say Rule 48 was
a bad idea to begin with. The
two-year deadline under Rule
48, which allowed for quicker
dismissals of dormant actions, dates
back to 2009. At the time, the changes
meant the court would dismiss sev-
eral cases by Jan. 1, 2012. Besides the
deadline itself, there were concerns
about confusion arising from the
wording of the rules.
While some lawyers call the new
provisions an improvement, others
say Rule 48 was a smokescreen for
inefficiencies in the court system
that the government has yet to re-
solve. "I've always thought Rule 48
was the attorney general's failure to
actually get enough resources from
cabinet to allow him or her to build
a modern [court] technology infra-
structure in Ontario," says Lou Fer-
ro of Ferro & Co. in Hamilton, Ont.
"When the government started
to worry about all the paper they
have to store, the obvious solu-
tion would have been to put some
LegalFeeds_LT_Dec1_14.indd 1 2014-11-26 9:44 AM
LAO lawyers see promise in RCMP ruling
Legal aid staff believe decision gives bid to join union a boost
By yamri Taddese
egal Aid O ntario staff lawyers who've been
fighting for the right to join a union say the
Supreme Court's recent endorsement of col-
lective-bargaining rights in Mounted Police
Association of Ontario v. Canada (Attorney
General) is a victory for them as well as the Mounties.
"We think this [ruling] helps solidify our position,"
says lawyer Dana Fisher, spokeswoman for the cam-
paign around the LAO union issue.
"We're really happy about the decision."
In one of its first decisions of the year, the top court
said RCMP officers could still form an association de-
spite their exclusion, as with LAO staff lawyers, from
the applicable labour relations act.
"The government cannot enact laws or impose a la-
bour relations process that substantially interferes with
the right of employees to associate for the purpose of
meaningfully pursuing collective workplace goals,"
wrote Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin
and Justice Louis LeBel on the majority's behalf in the
Jan. 16 ruling.
"Just as a ban on employee association impairs free-
dom of association, so does a labour relations process
that substantially interferes with the possibility of hav-
ing meaningful collective negotiations on workplace
"Similarly, a process of collective bargaining will
Legal Aid Ontario revamps its standards P4
CRA DUTY OF CARE?
Legal developments a positive sign P7
Privacy Law P8
Dana Fisher hopes the Supreme Court's ruling will convince Legal Aid Ontario to reconsider its decision not to give staff lawyers voluntary recognition to join the
Society of Energy Professionals. Photo: Robin Kuniski
See Rule, page 5
See LAO, page 5
Rule 48 was particularly problematic for per-
sonal injury law, says Andrew Murray.
Legal Aid Ontario revamps its standards
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