Inventory of Reforms
Federal Court Rules – Case Management and Dispute Resolution Services (Part 9)
Mandatory case management system in the Federal Court that employs three case management tools: status reviews, specially managed proceedings, and dispute resolution.
All Federal courts
Federal Court of Canada Rules Committee
1993: Federal Rules Committee commenced review
January 1998: New rules approved by Rules Committee
February 1998: Governor in Council approved new Rules
April 1998: New Rules came into force
November 2006: Proposed Amendments to Status Review published
September 2007: Amended Rules came into force
Federal Court Rules,External Link Part 9.
Federal Court of Canada 1998 ReportPDFExternal Link (Federal Court, 1999).
Rules Amending The Federal Court Rules,External Link C. Gaz. 2006.I.3725 [2006 Gazette]
Brian J. Saunders, Meg Kinnear, Donald J. Rennie & Graham Garton, QC, Federal Courts Practice 2007 (Toronto: Thomson Canada Ltd, 2006).
Rules Amending the Federal Courts Rules (Case Management),External Link C. Gaz. 2007.II.2020. [2007 Gazette]
In 1993, the Federal Court Rules Committee commenced a review of the Federal Court Rules. The purpose of this review was to bring the Rules in line with provincial rules, and make them accessible and easier to understand. The Committee hosted many consultations with various stakeholders. In January 1998, the new Rules were approved by the Rules Committee and subsequently by the Governor in Council on February 5, 1998. The new rules came into force on April 25, 1998.
Part 9 was reviewed and a proposal for amendments was published on November 18, 2006 in the Canada Gazette. Most of the amendments were minor, more in the nature of clarification or reinstatement of pre-1998 Rules that were omitted in the 1998 Rules, or past practices that were not properly reflected in the 1998 Rules.
The amendments to the Federal Courts Rulesconcerning Case Management/Status Review based on the 2006 proposal were registered on September 27, 2007 and came into force on that date.
These rules are designed to grant the Court a more active role in supervising proceedings and encouraging resolutions. By allowing the Court to manage cases, the pace of litigation is no longer controlled exclusively by the parties, and as a result cases can be resolved in an efficient manner.
Description of Reforms:
Under the Federal Court Rules, all cases before the Court are subject to case management. The Federal case management system employs three case management tools: status reviews, specially managed proceedings, and dispute resolution.
Status reviews are hearings convened by the Court when parties fail to reach specific steps within certain time limits [r. 380-382]. The Court automatically fixes a date for a status review if pleadings are not closed within 180 days of the issuance of the statement of claim, or where no requisition for a pre-trial conference has been filed within 360 days. For appeals, it is 180 days from the issuance of the notice of application or appeal. A status review may be ordered by a case management judge at any time [r. 380(3)]. At a status review, an appellant or applicant may be required to:
- To show cause why the proceeding should not be dismissed for delay and dismiss for delay if the Court is not satisfied.
- To show cause why default judgement should not be entered and enter a default judgement if the Court is not satisfied.
- If the Court is satisfied that the proceeding should continue, it can order it to continue as a specially managed proceeding.
Specially managed proceedings [r. 383-385] are cases taken out of the usual Court flow and proceed according to directions given by the case management judge. The case management judge may:
- give any directions that are necessary for the just, most expeditious and least expensive determination of the proceedings on its merits;
- fix the period for completion of subsequent steps in the proceedings notwithstanding any period provided for in the Rules;
- fix and conduct any dispute resolution or pre-trial conferences that he or she considers necessary; or subject to subsection 50(1) hear and determine all motions arising prior to the assignment of a hearing date;
- or may order that a status review be held in accordance with Rule 382.
Dispute resolution rules are also incorporated into the Rules [r. 386-391]. A judge may order a dispute resolution conference with respect to any issue in the proceeding. The conference has a 30 day limit and is conducted by a case management judge or prothonotary. These conferences can be mediations, an early neutral evaluation or a mini trial [r. 387]. Where a settlement of all or part of the proceedings is reached at a dispute resolution conference, it must be recorded in writing, signed and filed within 10 days of the settlement being reached [r. 389]. If a resolution is not obtained or only partially obtained, the case goes to Court. A case management judge who conducts the dispute resolution conference cannot preside at the hearing unless all parties consent [r. 391].
The amendment was put in place:
- To align the status review and case management rules with the current practice of the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court in order to enhance the efficiency of the courts.
- To amend the rules to allow one or more prothonotaries to be appointed as case management judge.
- To amend the rules to allow the Court to order at any time that a case proceed as a specially managed proceeding.
- To make an amendment stating that the case management judge or prothonotary referred to in paragraph 383(c) can rule on any matter raised before the specially managed proceeding is assigned, unless the Court directs otherwise, and to allow the judge or prothonotary to order a status review at any time.
This summary was last reviewed in Oct 24, 2013