UPDATE: This seminar occurred in the past. View the list of upcoming seminars to discover live programs that are available now.
Are you a civil litigator? Have you ever made use of the summary judgment application process? Do you know how this process has changed over the past year, since the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin?
LESA has an upcoming Summary Judgment Applications seminar in Edmonton and Calgary to help answer your questions about this process.
Seminar chair Ken Blake describes Rule 7.3 as giving teeth to the summary judgment application process.
It’s nice to see that a rule that was created for the benefit of the public is now being used more by their counsel. It’s not a slam dunk, but … the teeth are back in this rule. At one point it was toothless, and now it’s had some implants and can leave a mark. And that’s effective for all counsel. It doesn’t matter what form of civil litigation you’re involved in, it’s a great tool.”
As Blake describes it, the old summary judgment application process “rarely, rarely worked” because “deference was always shown to people who were saying, ‘Well, there are still some outstanding issues’ or ‘We’re going to be proving that at a later date.’” This led to a reality where summary judgment applications offered more of a “forlorn hope” than a real opportunity for claims to be dismissed or to receive a judgment.
For Blake, the revived summary judgment application process offers clients two main benefits.
The change that came from the Supreme Court of Canada [in regards to] this theme or mode or different way of looking at something has made summary judgment more of a viable option for people. From what I understand, since that decision, summary judgments have almost been the flavor of the month. People are proceeding with them all over the place, because there are instances now where they can actually proceed and get a determination from a Master or a Justice on these issues without having to have the matter drag along when there’s really no need for it. There are two reasons that you can see throughout the whole theme of all these cases. 1) This is a rule that should be used. It was created for counsel and for the public … because you need access to justice. Sitting around and waiting for other people to do something or waiting for a trial date or anything to move the matter forward still delays and denies access, in my opinion, to your client. The new theory and the new mode of thinking with summary judgments, where the Master can now proceed and make these decisions, … helps out counsel with respect to a lot of items that they can now proceed on a summary fashion. 2) The other thing is cost. One of the reasons why people are not going to trial a lot, at least in the area that I practice in (that is insurance), is cost. Even when dealing with a matter that perhaps doesn’t have a great deal of legitimacy to it, prior to the Supreme Court decision, you could proceed with a summary judgment, but, as long as there was some hope or some oral argument given to a Master that things can be proven and things will come out and whatever, the claim would not be dismissed, because no one wanted to deny someone’s claim and that’s it. But costs for trial have increased a great deal, and this now allows people better opportunity to get their matter before court and save both themselves and, theoretically, the other party cost.”
If you’re a civil litigator thinking about attending the upcoming Summary Judgment Applications seminar, here are 3 things you can expect to gain from this seminar:
- A better understanding of Rule 7.3 – As Blake explains, “We intend to present the essence of the rule, to break it down. What do you do? What do you need to do? What do you do in cases of self-representation? … I’m sure many … [litigators] who have never even thought of using the Rule would like to do so now, so we’re going to go over the essence of that rule.”
- Greater knowledge about winning cases – For Blake, it’s important to see “how the court is looking at some of the cases that are coming before it and what facts and what criteria seem to be winning applications and what are not. You still can’t necessarily bring a summary application on a preliminary basis if it’s completely premature. You’re not going to get anywhere. Understanding when is a good time to bring a summary judgment application is probably just as beneficial as understanding how the courts are determining when a judgment should be granted or when a claim should be dismissed.”
- The chance to talk to the experts – The panel includes Hon. Justice T. W. Wakeling, Master Schlosser QC, and Kunal Nand. Blake describes Master Schlosser as a “very keen, keen student of jurisprudence … [with] insights on this [that will be] tremendous to the bar” and notes that Nand, who will be providing an instructive paper and presentation, “was one of the first to start writing about how the Alberta court has been looking at summary judgments after the Supreme Court’s decision in Hryniak.” Blake is also looking forward to Justice Wakeling’s “unique insights on Summary Judgment Applications as a Justice of the Court of Appeal.” There will also be opportunity for the audience to ask questions. As Blake notes, “I would really like people to engage the panel with questions, because I think summary judgments now give people a great option to help their clients, and if you can take away something good that will add to your practice, then that’s great.”
We hope you’ll be able to join this knowledgeable panel when they delve into the details of summary judgment applications. You can register online now for the session in Edmonton (April 28) or Calgary May 5).