Toronto Summary Judgment Lawyers
Appeal of Summary Judgment in Ontario
Access to Justice | Hryniak v. Mauldin
Appeals to Superior Court Judge, Divisional Court, Ontario Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada
The legal landscape is shifting for small and medium-sized businesses in litigation.
Trials and the procedure and proceedings leading to trial are expensive and time consuming for all parties to legal proceedings. Justice delayed is justice denied. Likewise, justice which the parties to the proceedings cannot afforded is not justice.
Better access to justice has arrived by changes in the law making summary judgment more readily available in civil and commercial legal proceedings.
The Supreme Court of Canada has recently promoted better access to justice through summary judgment, partial summary judgment, and summary trials.
This is good news for small and medium businesses who previously could not afford a trial or the viability of a trial as a dispute resolving mechanism.
Our lawyers have been at the vanguard of legal developments in this new access to justice, including both obtaining and responding to summary judgment motions, in widely reported and leading decisions in this field.
Hryniak v Mauldin
Although our firm did not act in that case, one of the lawyers at our firm who practises in the area of commercial litigation, appeared as co-counsel for the 13 plaintiffs (one of which was Mauldin) who responded to the appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in Hryniak v. Mauldin, responded below to the appeal in the Ontario Court of Appeal, and who obtained summary judgment in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, being the judgment which was appealed.
This case has had such a significant impact on civil legal proceedings in the courts in Ontario, including with respect to the access to justice, that it has, in the course of three years since the decision was released, been cited in more than 2,000 reported decisions of the courts in Canada and over 1,100 cases in Ontario alone.
The New Test
In determining whether summary judgment is suitable the Supreme Court of Canada in Hryniak v. Mauldin laid out the following test.
“There will be no genuine issue requiring a trial when the judge is able to reach a fair and just determination on the merits on a motion for summary judgment. This will be the case when the process (1) allows the judge to make the necessary findings of fact, (2) allows the judge to apply the law to the facts, and (3) is a proportionate, more expeditious and less expensive means to achieve a just result.”
The courts in Ontario have embraced the cultural shift endorsed by the Supreme Court of Canada and are interpreting the summary judgment rules broadly, and favouring proportionality and fair access to affordable, timely and just adjudication of claims.
Our Approach to Civil Litigation
Accordingly, we carefully consider each case in which we act at an early stage of the proceedings to examine and analyze the prospects of successfully bringing (and successfully responding to) a motion for summary judgment. Having been involved in a number of summary judgment motions our team has developed a timely and efficient process to determine the best way forward in legal proceedings – including a determination whether a motion for summary judgment, rather than a traditional trial, would be proportionate, more expeditious and a less expensive means to achieve a just result in the case.
Changes in the law in this area make it important for clients to consider the experience of their counsel in bringing and responding to motions for summary judgment in civil and commercial legal proceedings in Ontario.
Please contact Gilbertson Davis LLP for an initial consultation to determine if your intended legal proceedings are suitable for a motion for summary judgment.
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