We act for clients before Ontario courts, boards and tribunals on all contested matters. This includes all Applications and Actions seeking damages, the return of property, the determination of property and other rights, and injunctive relief stopping objectionable activity or requiring action to happen. 

What Makes for a Successful Court or Tribunal Proceeding?

Successful court or tribunal proceedings require a careful assessment of what the ‘optimal result’ is most likely to look like after a comprehensive inventory has been taken of the key court and tribunal tools: (1) available witnesses and real/documentary evidence, (2) current state of legislation & caselaw, (3) resources available to pursue case to end of the proceeding, (4) where sympathies of court or tribunal will likely fall based on best facts that can be advanced and a judge or hearing officer’s perception of what a ‘fair’ result might be, and (5) what types of result would be most useful to the client.
— Gordon S. Campbell

What to Do If You Find Yourself Before a Court, Tribunal or Board

As either an initiator or responder to civil or administrative proceedings, if you find yourself before a court, tribunal or board you've got several duties, like it or not. 

1. Understand all the Rules of Procedure and Practice. Each court, tribunal or board will have its own set of rules. Some will be very voluminous, some quite skimpy. Be certain each body with have unique deadlines and document requirements, even disagreeing among bodies over what colour of binding is to be used (or if any binding is even permitted) on document briefs.

2. Understand the Jurisdictional Limits of the Court, Tribunal or Board. With the exception of Superior Courts of original inherent jurisdiction, the body you are before will be limited in what it can do by its statutory jurisdiction, meaning the marching orders given to it by the politicians when they set it up. If things go off the rails, you might need to go before a court with broader jurisdiction to get them back on track, or pursue a statutory appeal. 

3. Understand the Strategy and Tactics Necessary to be Successful. Different civil and administrative proceedings will have different winning strategies and tactics, depending on the available rules of procedure and practice, the jurisdictional limits of the body, and the jurisprudential trends of its past decisions. A strategic plan needs to be created that is unique to every body and every case before that body prior to testing its decision making waters.

Why You Need to Act Diligently on any Court or Administrative Proceeding

While "talking" law can go on forever, through contact negotiations, exchanges of demand letters, or evaluation of likely outcomes, once someone pulls the trigger on litigation, strict time limits rules always kick into force. All litigation, whether it's before a court, tribunal or a board, has strict time limitations and burdens of proof for the facts and the law that need to be carefully assessed before filing a statement of claim, notice of application, or responding to an action or application brought against you, your business or your organization. 

If you're served with court, tribunal or board documents, you can't put off responding beyond the limit specific on the document (often only 20 days). Even if you can't get an appointment with a lawyer in that time, don't delay. File something so that you aren't "noted in default." Defaults can lead to very unjust results, as all the allegation made and damages claimed may be found by a court or tribunal to be true, even if they aren't, because you never objected in a timely manner. 

Civil Appeal Priorities to Understand

The firm's top two priorities when any potential civil appeal client contacts us are determining in which court your appeal should proceed and how long you have to serve and file your appeal. The answers to these questions aren't always obvious and are at least as important as developing strong grounds of appeal. 

In Ontario, small claims appeals usually go to a single judge of the superior court (Divisional Court in Ontario), superior court civil appeals usually proceed to the court of appeal (or sometimes Divisional Court in Ontario), and court of appeal civil decisions can be challenged through seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Civil appeal filing deadlines may be very short.

The Ontario Civil & Administrative Litigation Lawyers

Gordon S. Campbell, the firm's Managing Lawyer and Senior Barrister, leads civil and administrative practice group. He has successfully represented clients in proceedings throughout Canada up to the level of the Supreme Court of Canada. 

He is assisted by Barrister William G. Stephenson Nancy Hamelin is the firm's civil and administrative proceedings lead Law Clerk. 

Further Reading on Civil Litigation

Five Commandments for Cost-Effective Civil Litigation