Law Times

January 26, 2015

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Two-year trial deadline repealed under new rule change By yamri Taddese Law Times ome lawyers are expressing relief following the repeal of rules that automatically dismissed actions for delay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 "As of January 1st, 2015, Rule 48.15 [of the Rules of Civil Proc edure] is repealed entirely," wrote Superior Court Master Donald Short in Humphrey v. Screemers Inc. "Rule 48.14 is also repealed and replaced with a simpler rule with longer time frames," he added.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 A DAILY BLOG OF CANADIAN LEGAL NEWS FEEDS LEGAL POWERED BY CANADIANLAWYERMAG.COM/LEGALFEEDS FEEDS LEGAL POWERED BY 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 Law Times 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 matters. "Similarly, a process of collective bargaining will REFUGEE PANELS Legal Aid Ontario revamps its standards P4 CRA DUTY OF CARE? Legal developments a positive sign P7 FOCUS ON 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. PM #40762529 REFUGEE PANELS Legal Aid Ontario revamps its standards TORONTO | BARRIE | HAMILTON | KITCHENER 1-866-685-3311 | cLeish Orlando_LT_Jan_20_14.indd 1 14-01-15 3:15 PM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 3 January 26, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on L aw TIMes L S

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