FAQ ABOUT DISPUTE LITIGATION And COVID-19

litigation dispute during COVID-19

litigation dispute during COVID-19

What Can Hummingbird Lawyers Do For You?

Courts across Canada are limiting hearings due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Depending on the jurisdiction, the court may be responding slightly differently. When contemplating a civil litigation matter, here are a few ways we can help you:

  • File an Action or Application
  • File a Statement of Defense
  • File a Crossclaim
  • File a Counterclaim
  • Serve documents
  • Negotiate an agreed settlement

It is important to note that effective March 16, 2020, all limitation periods and filing deadlines are suspended until the end of Ontario’s state of emergency. However, this should not deter you from contacting a Hummingbird litigation lawyer to help you. It is imperative you know that the suspension of court deadlines does not invalidate your dispute or claim.  Further, you are still required to act diligently in pursuing your claim.

The Hummingbird Litigation Team can also help you resolve your dispute without going to court. We can assist you in negotiating a resolution even outside of the court system. This may be preferable as it can help save you time and money.

How Does Suspension Of Courts Affect My Claim?

The courts are not fully closed, they are open under limited operations. What that means is that there will be no in-person hearings during the emergency suspension.

However, due to the significant role courts play in the administration of justice and constitutional democracy, the courts will be conducting remote hearings for urgent and emergency matters. Depending on the jurisdiction, the urgent or emergency matter will be conducted via teleconference, video conference, or in writing. Additionally, the court may determine that an in-person hearing is necessary, on a case-by-case basis.

How Do I Know If My Case Is “urgent” Or An “emergency” In The Eyes Of The Court?

An “urgent” matter is still being determined and will likely develop as more information evolves over time. At the moment, the Court states that for civil matters, urgent cases are those where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result if there is no judicial hearing.

The question of “urgency” is determined by the court and is an administrative prerogative, rather than a question of law. The court will review your claim and invite you to make a submission about the urgency of your case.

If the court does not deem your claim as “urgent”, you will not be invited to make a submission. Discretion is in the hands of the court and determined on a case-by-case basis.

urgent litigation dispute cases

What Might The Court Consider As “urgent”?

Recent cases found to be urgent by the courts are those which:

  • Are directly related to COVID-19
  • Were considered urgent prior to the Ontario state of emergency
  • Initial orders under the Companies’ Creditors Agreement Act (CCAA)
  • CCAA stay extensions
  • Can interrupt the closing of a commercial or residential real estate transaction
  • Deal with the termination of a commercial lease
  • Receivership Applications
  • Injunctions
  • Approval and Vesting orders
  • Urgent bankruptcy applications
  • Pertain to the expiry of a government-issued permit

Recent Cases Found To Be Urgent

Ontario Superior Court of Justice case of Thomas v. Wohleber, 2020 ONSC 1965 [Thomas], a decision published on March 30, 2020, established the following elements are necessary in order to meet the requirement of urgency:

  1. The concern must be immediate; that is one that cannot await resolution at a later date;
  2. The concern must be serious in the sense that it significantly affects the health or  safety or economic well-being of parties and/or their children;
  3. The concern must be definite and material rather than a speculative one. It must relate to something tangible (a spouse or child’s health, welfare, or dire financial circumstances) rather than theoretical; and
  4. It must be one that has been clearly particularized in evidence and examples that describes the manner in which the concern reaches the level of urgency.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Litigation Department. You can also reach a lawyer in this department by contacting info@hummingbirdlaw.com.

Hummingbird Lawyers is committed to serving you during these exceptional circumstances. We look forward to assisting you soon. Together we can get through this.

Jonathan Barr

Jonathan is a civil litigator with over a decade of real courtroom experience. During his 12+ years of practice, Jonathan has conducted trials (including jury trials), motions, and appeals in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, and Court of Appeal.

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