The Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure is thick and voluminous. The better one knows the rules, the better one will be at advancing or defending a civil proceeding. The more lawyers or lay people work with the Rules, the more they will become familiar with the major ones governing civil proceedings, such as those governing the commencement of a proceeding, how to draft pleadings, how to serve documents, how to bring or respond to a motion, and how to set an action down for trial.
That being said, it is rare that a lay person, let alone a lawyer, reads the Rules from cover to cover. Below is a sampling of some lesser known rules that govern matters such as showing up late to court and saving on paper:
- Working with the courts requires lots of paper work and filing of court documents. The Rules set out very specific formatting requirements for documents in writing, including that the text must be printed, typewritten, written or reproduced legibly, double-spaced, and with margins of approximately 40 mm on the left-hand size [4.01(1)1]
- For the eco-conscious among us, thankfully we are permitted to double-side court documents [4.01(2)].
- Showing up to court on time is important – so don’t be late! However, the Rules provide 15 minutes grace from the appointed time for a motion, reference, examination, assessment of costs or other matter before a judge, master or other officer may proceed in the absence of a party [3.03(2)].
- The Rules set many time limits; however, a court may extend or abridge any time prescribed by the Rules on such terms as are just [3.02(1)]. This requires a motion for an order extending or abridging a time limit, which may be made before or after the expiration of the time prescribed [3.02(2)]
- Circumstances may exist where a matter or issue is not explicitly provided for in the Rules. In such a case the practice shall be determined by analogy to other rules [1.04(2)]
- Generally speaking, courts are open year round in Ontario and proceedings may be heard throughout the year; however, the trial of an action may not be heard from December 24 to January 6 unless the parties file consent or the court orders otherwise [3.03(1)]
Generally we refer to individual rules as “rules” and that’s okay [1.01(3)], but rules are subdivided and actually have different names, for example:
Rule E.g. 1, 1.01, 1.02
Subrule E.g. 1.01(2)
Clause E.g. 1.01(2)(a)
Subclause E.g. 1.01(2)(c)(iii)