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Judges - Case Management

. Spagnolo v. Spagnolo

In Spagnolo v. Spagnolo (Div Court, 2023) the Divisional Court cites practical limitations on the jurisdiction of a case conference judge, and exceptions thereto:
[16] In addition, the parties understood that the May 4 attendance was for a case conference, both before and during that attendance. It was unfair to the parties, who had not prepared for a motion, to proceed to hear the matter as a motion. In addition, at the May 4 attendance, the parties discussed substantive issues on the motion with the case conference judge. As a result, it was an error for the case conference judge to then hear the matter as a motion. The case conference judge also erred in hearing a substantive motion at a case conference without the parties’ consent: A.B. v. N.L.A., 2013 ONSC 2990, at para. 135; Afful v. Laing, 2014 ONSC 74, at paras. 23 and 29).

[17] As a result, the appeal must be granted.

[18] We would add the following observations arising from this appeal. This court rarely grants leave to appeal from case conference, case management, or scheduling decisions. It should be apparent why this case was an exception. The TBST judge assessed this case and gave clear directions designed to assist the parties in what appeared to be an emergent high conflict case. Sensitive assessment and timely response to cases such as this one can do a real service to a family in distress. The TBST judge’s assessment and her efforts to move this matter forward were undone by the Order. It may have been that the case conference judge mis-read the endorsement of the TBST judge. But it should be emphasized that case management in our system is a team project, necessitating careful review of and respect for the directions provided by judges leading up to the matter before the court.

[19] Can a case management judge ever take a different approach than that taken by their colleagues in prior endorsements? Of course. Circumstances may change. A judge may conclude that they have a deeper appreciation of a situation and find a compelling need to take a different approach. But the starting point is to advance the case constructively from the position it is in.
. Canadian Pacific Railway Company v. Teamsters Canada Rail Conference

In Canadian Pacific Railway Company v. Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (Div Court, 2023) the Divisional Court makes the obvious point that case management orders are court orders that should be obeyed as any other court order:
[18] Pursuant to the direction of D.L. Corbett J., CP was required to perfect its application by October 22, 2021. It failed to do so. As this court found in Isaac v. Law Society of Ontario, 2022 ONSC 3577, at para. 26, case management orders and directions are not suggestions, but are orders to be respected and followed. Not only did CP fail to perfect its application for judicial review within the timeline ordered by D.L. Corbett J., at no time did it request an extension of time or take any steps to perfect its application.
. Hutton v. Sayat

In Hutton v. Sayat (Fed CA, 2023) the Federal Court of Appeal states the standard of review for case management judges:
[5] It is by now well established that a decision made by a case management judge to stay proceedings is interlocutory and discretionary in nature, and attracts a high degree of deference. In the absence of an obvious, serious error of law or legal principle, an appellate court will not interfere unless it can be demonstrated that the decision rests on a misapprehension of the evidence that rises to the level of a palpable and overriding error. This is a high standard, and it is very rarely met: see Hospira Healthcare Corporation v. Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, 2016 FCA 215, [2017] 1 F.C.R. 331 at paras. 79, 83-84; Turmel v. R., 2016 FCA 9, 481 N.R. 139 at paras. 9-12; Contrevenant no. 10 v. Canada (Attorney General), 2016 FCA 42, 488 N.R. 226 at para. 6.


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Last modified: 21-10-23
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