As Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and former Ontario chief justice Warren Winkler have famously lamented, the costs of going to trial pose a great disincentive to access to justice for many civil litigants. According to the 2013 Canadian Lawyer legal fees survey, the cost of taking a civil action through to a two-day trial in Ontario ranges from $15,831 to $47,977 with a seven-day trial ranging from a staggering $61,152 to $163,830. There is no sign of trial costs alleviating as 41 per cent of the law firms surveyed planned to raise fees.
With trial costs ballooning, some people have touted dispositive motions as providing an opportunity for speedier and more cost-effective resolutions. Such alternatives include Rule 21 motions to strike, Rule 20 summary judgment motions, and the lesser-known and deployed Rule 51.06 motions.
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Law Times, May 12, 2014
Rule 51.06(2): An Antidote to Lengthy, Expensive Trials?