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Halifax Case Management

Year: 
2001
Description: 

Differential caseflow management system with two tracks, Ordinary and Fast Process in non-family civil proceedings commenced by originating notice.

Status: 

Superseded by new Civil Procedure Rules.

Jurisdiction: 

Nova Scotia

Court: 

Supreme Court of Nova Scotia

Body Responsible: 

Supreme Court of Nova Scotia

Timeline: 
1996 Halifax Caseflow Management Project 3 year pilot begins
1999 Pilot ends, project discontinued
2001 New Rule 68 approved
January 2009 New Civil Procedure Rules went into effect
Development: 

In 2001 Rule 68, Halifax Case Management, replaced a prior version, the Halifax Caseflow Management Project.
 

...The distinguishing features of the Halifax Caseflow Management Project [were] mandatory settlement conferences, proactive judicial involvement in complex cases right from the start, selection of a track system appropriate to a particular case, time limits rather than restrictions on discoveries and, as an administrative model, the requirement that all matters in the CFM project pass through the Project Coordinator before these are referred to the judge handling the case. ... The Project also placed premium on differentiated case management which necessitat[ed] the development of four track systems, i.e., fast track, standard track, complex track and holding track, to which cases [were] assigned depending on the nature of the cause of action.

CDI at 2.
The former "case flow management" system, which was a three (3) year pilot project commencing in 1996, was dismantled at the end of the pilot project term. This occurred as a result of opposition and dissatisfaction by both members of the Bench and members of the Bar with the project. A Joint Bench-Bar Case Management Committee had been created at the outset of the pilot project and it was reactivated to determine what, if any, form of a new case management system should replace the former case flow management system.

The Joint Committee determined that the following elements should be preserved in the development of a new case management system:

  • the ability to have FAST process cases before the Supreme Court;
  • the ability to have certain cases "case managed";
  • Appearance Days; and
  • Settlement Conferences.

On May 23, 2001, the judges of the Supreme Court adopted a new Rule 68 and Practice Memorandum No. 27 to replace the former Rule 68 with an effective date of April 1, 2000. Rule 68 applies to all proceedings commenced by originating notice (action) filed in Halifax on or after April 1, 2000. Although certain types of proceedings are exempt from Rule 68, they can be subject to the rule on the consent of the parties.

Appearance Days at 1-2.
 
Description of Reforms: 

Track Selection

Rule 68 applied to non-family civil proceedings commenced by originating notice in the Halifax court. It provided a differential caseflow management system with two tracks, Ordinary and Fast Process. Where it was expected that a notice of trial could be filed within eight months, Fast Process could be either selected by the plaintiff or ordered by the court.

Ordinary Process

  • Parties were required to file and serve lists of documents within 60 days after the close of the pleadings or within 7 days after the service of the originating notice where there were no pleadings.
  • Completion of discovery of witnesses, other than experts, was required within six months after the close of pleadings. Discovery of expert witnesses was required to be completed within fourteen months after the close of pleadings.

Fast Process

  • Parties were required to file and serve lists of documents within 20 days after the close of pleadings.
  • Discovery of witnesses was required to be completed within four months after the close of pleadings.

 

Appearance Days

Appearance Days were introduced as part of the new Rule 68, designed to deal with pre-trial procedural issues. Appearance Day was held on Fridays at noon, with ten days notice to the court and opposing counsel. Under Practice Memorandum 27, the court required both parties to appear after 10 months had passed since the close of pleadings for Fast Process cases, or 24 months for Ordinary Process cases.

On Appearance Day, the court was able to varied time limits, order the payment of costs, change the track of case from Fast to Ordinary or vice versa, order case management for a complex case, or give any direction the court saw fit.
 

Settlement Conferences

The Practice Memorandum also outlines procedures for settlement conferences, which are held at the request of either party and presided over by a judge other than the trial judge. Both parties submit briefs outlining their cases prior to the conference.

 

Results: 

The Civil Rules Revision Project Management of Litigation Working Group recommended in 2005 that the Halifax Case Management regime be retained. In addition, they recommended that the Rules provide for the appointment of a Case Management Judge (CMJ) at the initiative of the the Prothonotary or a Judge at any time following the close of pleadings. The CMJ would:

  • With the consent of the parties, preside at pre-trial motions.
  • Be able to issue orders reflecting developments during case management proceedings.
  • Determine whether case management proceedings will be recorded.
  • Give direction to the parties on the preparation of the minutes of case management meetings.

The new rules included provisions for Appearance Days (Rule 24) and Case Management (Rule 26) comparable to those found in the Halifax Case Management rule.

 

Revision History:
This summary was last reviewed in Jan 17, 2014:custom:F, Jan 17, 2014:custom:Y.