Ontario Superior Court rejects jury trial in motor vehicle accident case due to procedural delays

The court took into account the effects of the pandemic on judicial resources and court operations

Ontario Superior Court rejects jury trial in motor vehicle accident case due to procedural delays

In a recent ruling, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck the jury notice for a motor vehicle accident case in 2014, directing the case to proceed as a judge-alone trial.

The court's decision in Lounds v. Lounds; MacIsaac v. Lounds, 2024 ONSC 2010 came after an examination of the procedural delays and logistical challenges faced in organizing a jury trial that could potentially exceed the set maximum duration of six weeks.

The plaintiffs, Darrell MacIsaac and Lynn Connor had initially moved to strike the jury notice on the basis that a trial of the estimated duration of 8 to 9 weeks could not be completed within the six weeks allocated, arguing this necessitated a shift to a judge-alone format. The defendants opposed the motion, arguing it was premature and speculative, suggesting a wait-and-see approach might be more appropriate as the trial date approached.

The Superior Court evaluated the arguments and the evidence provided, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on judicial resources and court operations. It concluded that the combined constraints of time and limited judicial resources made it impractical to accommodate the projected duration of a jury trial. This led to the decision to strike the jury notice to avoid the risk of mid-trial complications arising from such constraints.

Citing recent jurisprudence and the need for flexibility in managing trials effectively under current judicial conditions, the court emphasized the importance of proceeding efficiently without undue delay. The court highlighted ongoing efforts within the judicial system to adapt to challenges and ensure timely delivery of justice.

With this ruling, the court provided guidance on managing cases where extended jury trials are unfeasible due to logistical limitations. The trial for the case is now scheduled to begin in September, as a judge-alone trial, which aims to facilitate a more streamlined and timely resolution. The court directed both parties to prepare for the upcoming judge-alone trial.

Related stories

Free newsletter

Our newsletter is FREE and keeps you up to date on all the developments in the Ontario legal community. Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Colleen Flood reflects on career as healthcare policy prof and new role as Queen's Law School Dean

Ontario Superior Court welcomes new judges Ira Parghi and Benita Wassenaar

Worker unable to mitigate termination damages due to physical incapacity: Ontario Court of Appeal

Ontario Superior Court refuses to dismiss estate litigation despite delays

Ontario Court of Appeal upholds TTC's liability in personal injury case of woman struck by bus

Ontario Superior Court dismisses former wife's claims against late husband's estate

Most Read Articles

New judicial appointments announced for Ontario courts

Law Commission of Ontario report calls for modernizing consumer protection for digital marketplace

Ontario Superior Court dismisses former wife's claims against late husband's estate

Ont. Superior Court affirms privacy commissioners' authority over personal health information breach