• 34th Annual Joint Insurance Seminar

    Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Live Streamed

    Read more

  • The Adaptive Lawyer: Diversifying Your Practice

    Thursday, September 3rd, 2020
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Live Zoom Webinar

    Read more

  • New Lawyers' Seminar

    Thursday, September 10th, 2020
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Live Zoom Webinar

    Read more

  • Corporate Commercial Law Seminar

    Thursday, October 8th, 2020
    9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    Available Live Streamed

    Read more

  • Family Law Seminar

    Thursday, October 29th, 2020
    1:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
    Available Remotely

    Read more

  • Emerging Issues in Real Estate Seminar

    Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
    9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Live Zoom Webinar

    Read more

  • Employment Law Seminar

    Thursday, November 12th, 2020
    2:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
    Live Zoom Webinar

    Read more

  • Hamilton Law Association Operations re. COVID-19 and Related Notices to the Profession

    Read more

  • Looking for a Lawyer in Hamilton?

    Search our Membership Directory by:
    First & Last Name
    Area of Law
    LSUC Certified Specialist
    Language other than English

    Read more

  • Looking for a legal job in Hamilton?

    Search our Careers Page for:
    Jobs for Lawyers & Support Staff
    Seeking jobs for Lawyers & Support Staff
    Seeking jobs for Articling & Summer Students
    Seeking Volunteer Positions

    Read more

What's New

Teresa Donnelly Elected Law Society Treasurer

Jun 26, 2020

Teresa Donnelly was elected Law Society Treasurer by Convocation June 26th, 2020.  Treasurer Donnelly was elected as a bencher in 2015 and 2019. She has served as Chair of the Audit & Finance Committee, Chair of the Human Rights Monitoring Group (Equity), and Chair of the Program Review Task Force. She also served on numerous other Law Society committees, task forces, and working groups. She is on the faculty of the National Criminal Law Program, Federation of Law Societies of Canada. 

Donnelly-Teresa-Photo-(1)

Treasurer Donnelly has dedicated her career to providing access to justice for victims of domestic and sexual violence – the majority of whom are women and children. As a West Region Crown, she is one of seven prosecutors in the province dedicated to enhancing the quality of violence prosecutions and the victim’s experience in the criminal justice system.

Her community work focuses on contributing to the lives of children, families, the elderly, and people with developmental disabilities.

Treasurer Donnelly is a member of the Huron Law Association, the Ontario Association of Senior Crown Attorneys, the Advocates Society, the Women’s Law of Ontario Association, and the Southwest Region Women’s Law Association. 

In 2018, the Sexual Violence Advisory Group, of which she was a member, won the Excelsior Award for Innovation and Transformation. In 2014, she was named the Most Inspiring Women in Huron, and in 2012, she received the Deputy’s Award for Excellence in the Aftermath of the Goderich Tornado. She has received several other awards and honours from the Ministry of the Attorney General during her career.

She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1991 after receiving an LLB from the University of Toronto (1989). She also holds a B.A. (Hons) from McGill University (1986).

For more information about Treasurer Teresa Donnelly, please visit https://www.lso.ca/about-lso/governance/teresa-donnelly,-law-society-treasurer.

 

JUNE 25 - SCJ Notice re: Expected Steps as Some In-Court Hearings Resume - July 6th

Jun 25, 2020

A. Introduction

On May 13, 2020, I issued an updated and Consolidated Notice to the Profession regarding matters that would be heard virtually – by telephone or video conference – during the suspension of in-court operations in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In that Notice, I indicated that the SCJ will not resume in-person hearings of any court matters until July 6, 2020, at the earliest.

In this Notice, I advise the profession, litigants, accused, the media and the public of the steps that are expected to be completed to permit some in-court hearings to resume at certain court locations, effective July 6, 2020.

B. Ministry of the Attorney General’s Recovery Efforts

Since May 13, 2020, I have been briefed by the Ministry of the Attorney General (Ministry) and its Recovery Secretariat of the Ministry’s plans to conduct courthouse site assessments and to implement health and safety precautionary measures at courthouses to allow matters to be heard safely in courtrooms.  In approaching a safe return to in-person hearings, I am advised that the Ministry and Recovery Secretariat are being guided by the Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, a Public Health Ontario physician specializing in communicable diseases and emergency preparedness and response, as well as the Chief Prevention Office for Ontario from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

To conduct site assessments of each courthouse, the Ministry and Recovery Secretariat are relying upon the Public Services Health and Safety Association (PHSA).  The PHSA is Ontario’s designated Health and Safety Association which provides training, consulting and resources to the Municipal, Public Safety, Health and Community Care, and Education and Culture Sectors.  PHSA consultants are occupational health and safety professionals.  I am advised that a team of 30 PHSA consultants will be completing COVID-19 risk assessments at each Ontario courthouse.

The Ministry has provided a list of items that will be assessed at each court site and courtroom before a courtroom will re-open.  This includes: physical distancing; facility and room capacity; plexiglass barriers; hand sanitization dispensers; personal protective equipment (PPE); enhanced cleaning; courtroom (re)configuration; document transmission; movement of in-person accused; public/media access to courtrooms; jury events; courtroom disinfection; use of public elevators and escalators; use of public washrooms; entrance protocol and COVID screening at courthouses; public and media access; and food service areas.

I am further advised that the Ministry expects to post on its website by July 6, 2020, comprehensive information on health and safety measures, including a Guidebook for all court users.

C. Phased Return to In-Person Hearings

Pursuant to the Ministry’s plans, a fixed number of courtrooms will be rendered safe for use in Phases.  In Phase 1 and by July 6, 2020, we have been advised that site assessments of 56 SCJ courtrooms will be complete, and that all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, will be implemented for the protection of all court users, including judicial officers, lawyers, litigants, staff and members of the public.  The Ministry will not re-open a Phase One site on July 6, 2020 if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants cannot be adequately protected on this date.  This list of courthouses expected to have at least one courtroom available to the SCJ by July 6, 2020 is found at Annex A.

The Ministry intends to have additional courtrooms available for SCJ use in additional courthouses by September 15, 2020 (Phase 2) and November 1, 2020 (Phase 3).

D. Resumption of Some In-Court Hearings

Based on the assurances of the Ministry and its public health and occupational health and safety experts, the SCJ expects to resume some in-court hearings effective July 6, 2020 only at the court locations identified in Annex A.

There will only be 56 courtrooms available for use by the SCJ on July 6, 2020.  Trials and other hearings that are urgent or which were scheduled to be heard during the suspension of the Court’s regular operations will be given priority.  Jury matters will continue to be deferred until at least September 2020.  As a result of space limitations created by the need for physical distancing, the Court is exploring with the Ministry the availability of off-site jury selection and will provide a further direction as soon as that information is available.

For civil and family matters, direction will be provided regionally for the hearing of these proceedings.

Litigants and lawyers are asked to come to court at least 30 minutes in advance because of extra screening requirements so that the attendance can proceed at the scheduled time.

Each courthouse has restrictions on the number of people who may be in the courthouse for safety purposes. Litigants should only bring family members or other supports to court with them where absolutely necessary.

If you need assistance from Duty counsel in relation to your family law or child protection matter, you should contact legal aid before your court attendance to see what help is available.  Legal Aid can be reached at 1-800-668-8258.

In addition to any in-person appearances, the SCJ will continue to hear matters virtually, as set out in the May 13, 2020 Consolidated Notice to the Profession and the most recent Regional Notice to the Profession.

E. Gowning

The requirement to gown for an in-court appearance in the SCJ remains suspended, until further notice.  Counsel may continue to wear business attire. This is because there is limited space in courthouse robing rooms, which may not permit sufficient physical distancing.  Judges and masters will be robed.

F. Criminal Matters Suspended Effective March 17, 2020 and further by Order of May 5, 2020

In some Regions, some matters will be heard in person or remotely in July and August.  Counsel will be made aware of these matters by the Court.

EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, including cases where a new trial date or other date has been assigned or ordered by the court, this section of this Notice constitutes an Order regarding the continued adjournment of criminal matters.

Further to my orders of March 17 and May 5, 2020, and by this Order, dated June 17, 2020, and unless the court orders otherwise, criminal appearances have been adjourned as follows:

  1. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled for appearances in March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to July 6, 2020, are further adjourned to September 15, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in March 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 2, 2020 and extended to July 6, 2020, is now extended to September 15, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear on September 15, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.
  2. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in April 2020 that had been adjourned to July 7, 2020, are further adjourned to September 16, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in April 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 3, 2020 and extended to July 7, 2020, is further extended to September 16, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 16, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.
  3. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in May 2020 that had been adjourned to July 8, 2020 are further adjourned to September 17, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in May 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 4, 2020 and extended to July 8, 2020, is further extended to September 17, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 8, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.
  4. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were scheduled in June 2020 are adjourned to September 18, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in June 2020,
    2. a bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) is issued as of the date in June on which the person was scheduled to appear, and is returnable on September 18, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 18, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is issued as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.
  5. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in July and August 2020, are adjourned to September 18, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in July or August 2020,
    2. a bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) is issued as of the date in July or August 2020 on which the person was scheduled to appear, and is returnable on September 18, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 18, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.

Persons scheduled to appear in the SCJ on September 14, 2020 and following should do so as scheduled.

The Order extends, as necessary, all warrants of remand for accused persons in custody to whom the Order applies.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz,
Chief Justice

JUNE 18 - Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

Jun 18, 2020

PLEASE CLICK HERE  to view this notice on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

This Notice supersedes previously announced notices.

  1. INTRODUCTION

Additional family law matters in the Ontario Court of Justice are resuming as of July 6, 2020.

The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, has established an incremental plan to prepare courthouses and courtrooms to facilitate the return to full court operations across Ontario.  The Ministry has announced the first phase of the plan (Phase One) will be implemented Monday July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms.  Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms added as the Ministry continues to implement its plan, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

As part of the return to operations plan, the Ministry is implementing health and safety measures in each courthouse.

In Phase One and by July 6, 2020, the Court has been advised that site assessments of 93 OCJ courtrooms will be complete, and that all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, will be implemented for the protection of all court users, including judicial officers, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, staff and members of the public.  The Ministry will not re-open a Phase One site on July 6, 2020 if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants cannot be adequately protected on this date.

Persons attending court must ensure that they arrive for court early because of the extra screening requirements in order to be in court for their scheduled appearance.  Because of the restrictions on the number of people who may be in the courthouse, unless essential, family members or supporters should not attend court with people who have scheduled appearances in court.

The Court is continuing to have discussions to consider gradually expanding the range of matters that it is hearing beyond July 6, 2020.  This Notice sets out how family law proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice will be scheduled and conducted as of July 6, 2020.

In order to protect the health and safety of all court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19, we continue to ask members of the legal profession and the public to NOT attend courthouses in person at this time unless you have been scheduled to appear in court or if you are unable to email family court documents relating to a scheduled family law matter. 

Under no circumstances should you come into a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor or the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) website (https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus) to self-isolate.  If you are unable to come to court because you have been told to self-isolate, contact the courthouse by email:  Courthouse email addresses or by telephone: Court Addresses and Phone Numbers

Please continue to check the court’s website for updates (https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/).  The Court will provide additional information about the scheduling and conduct of all court proceedings, including the Court’s ongoing work to make more services available using remote technology.  Court operations will continue to expand as the Ministry facilitates the opening of additional courthouses and courtrooms in accordance with its recovery plan.  The Court will continue working actively with all justice partners to implement a fair and orderly return to operations. As we do so, with the health and safety of all court users remains our paramount concern.

  1. SCHEDULING OF FAMILY MATTERS IN THE ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE (June 17, 2020)

This Notice replaces the May 7, 2020 Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has determined the following court locations are part of their Phase 1 plan for re-opening of in-person family matters, unless ordered otherwise:

Ontario Court of Justice Courthouses Phase 1 (July 6, 2020)

Region Courthouses

Central West: Brampton, Brantford, Milton, Orangeville

Northeast: North Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury

Northwest: Thunder Bay

Toronto: 311 Jarvis Street, 47 Sheppard Avenue East

West: Chatham, Guelph, Owen Sound, Sarnia, Windsor

Virtual courts (by teleconference or videoconference) remain essential to the reopening of courts and will continue as currently scheduled.  Matters may be heard either in-person, by teleconference or videoconference (virtual courts) or a combination of in-person and virtual court appearances.  A judge will determine how a matter will be heard.

As of July 6, 2020, only the following matters will be heard at the above specified court locations by in-person attendances, unless ordered otherwise:

  1. Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) trials and summary judgment motions;
  2. Family Law Act (FLA) and/or Children’s Law Reform Act (CLRA) urgent trials and focused hearings, as determined by the judiciary;
  3. Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) Settlement Conferences, Trial Management Conferences and/or combined Settlement/Trial Management Conferences;
  4. Family Law Act (FLA) and/or Children’s Law Reform Act (CLRA) Settlement Conferences and/or Trial Management Conferences.

Only a judge will decide if a matter is ready to proceed. This may require a remote court appearance before a judge. If a remote court appearance is necessary, you will receive notice of this by the court.

While court operations are expanding as part of Phase 1, the number of courtrooms that are open, and the number of people who can attend inside the courtroom or courthouse, remains restricted.

Because of the restrictions on courthouse and courtroom attendance and considering the ongoing public health guidelines and other restrictions, it is essential that all parties and counsel take reasonable steps to ensure that matters scheduled for a court appearance are ready to proceed.

  1. WITNESSES

All witnesses subpoenaed or ordered to attend court for a hearing scheduled on or after July 6, 2020 must attend court on the scheduled date, unless there is a court order that permits the witness to attend remotely.

If you are a witness and have any questions or concerns about your subpoena or about an upcoming court date, please contact the person listed on the subpoena or on the correspondence you received with your subpoena.  If there is no contact information on your subpoena, contact the courthouse by email:  Courthouse email addresses or by telephone: Court Addresses and Phone Numbers

 

  1. URGENT MATTERS, CASE CONFERENCES AND OTHER FAMILY LAW MATTERS

As per the May 7, 2020 Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, the OCJ will continue to hear urgent matters, case conferences in previously adjourned matters and, subject to local direction, other family law matters, including certain in-chambers requests as described in the former Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (May 7, 2020).

  1. NEW APPLICATIONS

New applications, unless urgent, will not be heard at this time.  An announcement will be made shortly regarding the resumption of other in-person appearances in family matters.

  1. FILING: Filing requirements continue to include the following:

  1. Documents and requests shall be sent by email to the appropriate courthouse. The list of email addresses for each court may be found here https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/courthouse-email-addresses/.
  2. In order to ensure your request is received and processed by the appropriate court office, the subject line should include the following information:
    1. LEVEL OF COURT (OCJ)
    2. TYPE OF MATTER (Family, CYFSA)
    3. FILE NUMBER (Indicate NEW if no court file number exists)
    4. TYPE OF DOCUMENT (Motion, Application, Case Conference, Settlement Conference, Trial Management Conference, Combined Conference, Trial Record, Focused Hearing, Other Request)
  3. The body of the email should include the following information if applicable:
    1. court file number (if it is an existing file)
    2. short title of proceeding
    3. list of documents attached (note: attachments cannot exceed 35MB)
    4. type of request
    5. confirmation of service, setting out when and how any other party was served.
    6. name, role (i.e. legal representative, party, etc.,) and contact information of person submitting the request (email and phone number)

If you are unable to file documents in a family court matter by email, contact your local courthouse to determine the other options that are available or attend your local courthouse.  Note that entry into the courthouse will be controlled and court counters are only open between 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Contact information for all courts in Ontario is available on the Ministry of the Attorney General website: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/

When a document has been filed electronically, it is not necessary to file a paper copy.

Important Information: As per previous Notices regarding the Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, the following expectations continue to be in place:

Parties shall not assume that the judge hearing a matter will have access to the entire court file.

By submitting documents via email to the court, the party/legal representative agrees to accept email communication from the court with respect to the proceeding.

A formal affidavit of service does not need to be filed.  However, members of the legal profession/ parties should retain a copy of any relevant affidavit(s) of service and/or related documents (e.g. email confirmations) and be prepared to produce it to the Court on request.

Materials sent by email must indicate when and how service on any other party was made.  Legal representatives or parties should retain a copy of the relevant affidavit of service and/or related documents (e.g. email confirmations) and be prepared to produce it to the Court on request.

The materials should also include any prior orders or endorsements that were issued and that are relevant to the matter.

Where it is not possible to email a sworn affidavit, affidavits may be delivered unsworn but the affiant must be available to participate in any telephone or videoconference hearing to swear or affirm the contents of the affidavit.

Requests for other family matters will be determined by a judge. Where a court attendance is required, contact your local courthouses to make arrangements for your attendance.

If a judge declared that your matter will be held after the court fully reopens, the documents which you submitted to the court may not be processed until regular court operations resume.

These instructions are subject to direction from a judicial official.

  1. PRE-COURT DISCUSSIONS

As per previous Notices regarding the Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, the following expectations continue to be in place:

Parties should make reasonable efforts to communicate prior to a hearing to attempt to resolve the issues.  If a contested hearing is necessary, parties should determine the issues that remain in dispute. The parties should make efforts to narrow the issues as much as possible and discuss the nature of any evidence to be heard and how it will be presented.

  1. LEGAL RESOURCES

Legal Aid Ontario

People who would have received in-person legal aid services through the Family Law Information Centres will be able to continue to get help from LAO over the phone by calling 1‑800‑668‑8258.

Law Society of Ontario emergency family referral line during COVID-19

The Law Society of Ontario continues to support a telephone line to provide assistance to people who are self-represented (SRLs) and trying to determine whether or not their family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the court on an ‘urgent’ basis and, if so, how to proceed in making their request.  The emergency service will connect SRLs with family lawyers, working on a pro bono basis, who will provide 30 minutes of legal advice specific to determining whether or not their family court matter is urgent and referrals to other available legal services.

SRLs may contact the law society by phone at the following numbers to access the service: Toll-free: 1-800-268-7568; General: 416-947-3310.

Law Society of Ontario Referral Service

The Law Society of Ontario’s Referral Service will give you the name of a lawyer within or near your community, who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options.  You can start the online process of obtaining a lawyer referral at http://www.findlegalhelp.ca/, 24 hours per day.

 
 
 

JUNE 17 - Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice as of July 6, 2020

Jun 17, 2020

To view this notice on the Ontario Court of Justice website please click here.

Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice resume July 6, 2020. The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, has established an incremental plan to prepare courthouses and courtrooms to facilitate the return to full court operations across Ontario.  The Ministry has announced the first phase of the plan (Phase One) will be implemented Monday July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms.  Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms added as the Ministry continues to implement its plan across the province, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

As part of the return to operations plan, the Ministry is implementing health and safety measures in each courthouse.

In Phase One and by July 6, 2020, the Court has been advised that site assessments of 93 OCJ courtrooms will be complete, and that all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, will be implemented for the protection of all court users, including judicial officers, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, staff and members of the public.  The Ministry will not re-open a Phase One site on July 6, 2020 if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants cannot be adequately protected on this date.

More information about the precautionary health and safety measures at courthouses implemented by the Ministry will be publicly available before July 6, 2020.

Do not attend the courthouse if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been advised by a public health official,  a physician or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.  Please contact your lawyer or, if you do not have a lawyer, please contact the courthouse by email or telephone to seek direction.

This Notice provides information specific to the resumption of trials and preliminary inquiries on July 6, 2020.  The content of this notice will be incorporated in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice prior to July 6, 2020.

Further updates and information about criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquires, including criminal case management (set date) appearances, will be provided in advance of July 6, 2020.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.  The Court will provide additional information about the scheduling and conduct of all court proceedings, including the Court’s ongoing work to make more services available using remote technology.  Court operations will continue to expand as the Ministry facilitates the opening of additional courthouses and courtrooms in accordance with its recovery plan.  The Court will continue working actively with all justice partners to implement a fair and orderly return to operations. As we do so, the health and safety of all court users remains our paramount concern.

1.    Resumption of Trials and Preliminary Inquiries on July 6. 2020, at Specified Court Locations

The Court will resume  hearing criminal trials and preliminary inquiries on July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courtrooms in all courthouses that are part of Phase One of the Ministry’s plan.  All trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are in custody and who are out of custody will proceed as scheduled in the following Ontario Court of Justice locations:

Ontario Court of Justice Courthouses where Trials and Preliminary Inquiries will Resume as of July 6, 2020

Region Courthouses

Central East: Barrie, Newmarket, Oshawa (Durham), Lindsay

Central West: Brampton, Brantford, Hamilton, Milton, Orangeville, St Catharines

EastBelleville: (Quinte), Cornwall, Kingston, Ottawa, Pembroke

Northeast: North Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury

Northwest: Thunder Bay

Toronto: Toronto North (1000 Finch Ave W), Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Ave E), Toronto West (2201 Finch Ave W), 311 Jarvis St, College Park (444 Yonge St), Old City Hall (60 Queen St W)

West: Chatham, Guelph, Kitchener (Waterloo Region), London, Owen Sound, Sarnia, St Thomas (Elgin County), Windsor

All participants in a trial or preliminary inquiry, including the accused person(s), counsel and witness(es) will attend in person, unless a judge has directed otherwise.

While court operations are expanding as part of Phase One, the number of courtrooms that are open, and the number of people who can attend inside the courtroom or courthouse, remain restricted in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

In light of the restrictions on courthouse and courtroom attendance, and in light of the ongoing public health guidelines and other restrictions, it is essential that all parties take reasonable steps to ensure matters scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry are ready to proceed.

Sections a to c, below, apply to trials and preliminary inquiries at the courthouse locations listed above.

a.    Filing of Pre-trial and Trial Applications

The temporary extension of filing deadlines for pre-trial and trial applications and related application materials established in section 5.3 of the of the Court’s COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice will end as of June 15, 2020.  All application materials in relation to trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled to proceed on or after July 6, 2020, should be filed in accordance with the timelines set out in the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.  Application materials that should have been filed with the Court on or before June 15, 2020, but for the previous deadline extension, should be filed by Friday, June 19, 2020.

Materials can be filed electronically in accordance with s. 5.2 of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

b.    Witnesses

All witnesses who have been subpoenaed or ordered to attend court for a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled on or after July 6, 2020, must attend court on the scheduled date unless the party who subpoenaed them advises that their attendance is no longer necessary.

If you are a witness and have any questions or concerns about your subpoena or about an upcoming court date, please contact the person listed on the subpoena or on the correspondence you received with your subpoena.  If there is no contact information on your subpoena, contact the courthouse by email or telephone.

c.    COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Judge and until further notice, all cases currently scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry will be spoken to approximately one week before the scheduled hearing date before a judge presiding in a special COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court. The purposes of the Trial Readiness Courts are:

(i) to confirm that trials or preliminary inquiries are ready to proceed on their hearing date; and

(ii) to assign cases into courtrooms that are open and operating.

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Justice, cases will appear in Trial Readiness Court the Monday before the week of the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry. Where the Monday is a holiday, Trial Readiness Court will be held on Tuesday. For example, matters scheduled for trial or a preliminary inquiry during the week of July 6 – 10 will be addressed in the Trial Readiness Court scheduled for Monday, June 29. Matters scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry the week of July 13 – 17 will be addressed in the trial readiness court scheduled for Monday, July 6.

For details about the Trial Readiness Court in each court location, including scheduling information, see Ontario Court of Justice Trial Readiness Court.

All appearances in Trial Readiness Court will be by audioconference or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judge.

Accused persons who are represented by counsel do not need to be present for the Trial Readiness Court.

All counsel who speak to matters in Trial Readiness Court must be fully informed about the case and have authority to make binding decisions regarding the conduct of the case.

Accused persons who are not represented by counsel are to attend Trial Readiness Court by audioconference, or videoconference where applicable, to speak to their matter.

There is no need for counsel or accused persons to file a “bring forward” request or application to have their case addressed.

The Court expects the Crown and defence counsel will have communicated before Trial Readiness Court to identify and discuss any issues that may affect the scheduling or conduct of the hearing including, but not limited to:

  • whether, and on what basis, a party may be bringing an application to adjourn the case at the trial readiness court appearance;
  • any witnesses or parties who may be unable to attend court due to health concerns, public health orders or COVID-19 symptoms or other issues;
  • whether any portion of the hearing (including any witness testimony) will be conducted using remote technology.

The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court may hear and determine any application(s) regarding the scheduling or conduct of the hearing that the judge is satisfied should be determined in advance of the trial or preliminary inquiry date.  The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court will not hear applications that are reserved to the trial judge or in respect of a continuing trial or preliminary inquiry with which a different judge is seized.

Where the parties indicate a matter is going to resolve, the matter will be scheduled into a resolution court on or before the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry date, where feasible.

2.    Trials and Preliminary Inquiries in Other Courthouses

The Ministry of the Attorney General’s plan does not support any additional courtrooms during Phase One (July 6, 2020) other than the limited number in the courthouses listed above in section 1.  As a result, trials and preliminary inquiries will not be resuming at non-Phase One courthouses on July 6, 2020.

As the Ministry’s plan is implemented in other courthouse locations, trials and preliminary inquires will resume at those courthouse locations.  Notice will be given about which courthouse locations will be opening so that counsel and parties can prepare for the resumption of trials or preliminary inquiries.  Please check back on the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

3.    Other Court Proceedings will Continue to be Conducted as Remote Proceedings

All proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquiries will be conducted by audioconference and/or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official. This includes bail proceedings, resolutions (including guilty pleas) involving accused persons who are in and out of custody, remand and case management (set date) appearances.

Attendance in courtrooms for criminal matters other than trials and preliminary inquiries will continue to be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official directs otherwise.

The Court is actively working to expand opportunities for counsel and parties to attend court proceedings using remote technology.  Further updates and information about criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquires, including criminal case management (set date) appearances, will be provided in advance of July 6, 2020.

4.    Scheduling Trial and Preliminary Inquiry dates

The Court will begin rescheduling criminal trials and preliminary inquiries that were scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 but adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, later this month.

The Court will provide further details about the procedure for setting trial and preliminary inquiry dates shortly.

Counsel are reminded that a judicial pre-trial is mandatory in all cases that were scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 and adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for all cases with a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled between July 6, 2020 and October 31, 2020: see s. 6.2 of the Court’s COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Upcoming Events

The Hamilton Law Association is pleased to present the following Upcoming Events:

September 03
2020

1.5 Substantive Hour
0.5 Professionalism Hour

The Adaptive Lawyer: Diversifying Your Practice

View Flyer


For more information in this regard, please contact events@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

September 10
2020

1 Professionalism Hour 
1 Substantive Hour

The New Lawyers’ Seminar

View Flyer


For more information in this regard, please contact events@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

October 08
2020

1.5 Professionalism Hours
2.5 Substantive Hours

Corporate Commercial Law Seminar

View Flyer


For more information in this regard, please contact events@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

October 29
2020

1.5 Substantive Hour
1 Professionalism Hour

Family Law Seminar

View Flyer


For more information in this regard, please contact randerson@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

November 04
2020

1.0 Professionalism Hours
3.0 Substantive Hours

Real Estate Seminar

View Flyer


For more information in this regard, please contact events@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

For information on these events and others, please visit our Upcoming Events page.

Recent Job Postings

DatePositionFirmView
August 04
Junior Legal Assistants
Wynne, Pringle, Jeske & Kovacs
View
August 04
Lawyers for COVID-19 Pro Bono Initiative
The National Canadian Lawyers' Initiative (NCLI)
View
July 23
Real Estate Law Clerk/Assistant and Litigation Legal Assistant (2 Positions)
INCH HAMMOND Professional Corporation
View
July 14
Full-time Law Clerk/Legal Administrative Assistant
Filice Law Professional Corporation
View
July 09
Legal Assistant - Family Law
Bartolini, Berlingieri, Barrafato, Fortino LLP
View