Offices in Ottawa and Perth
(613) 722-1500

CONTACT US (613) 722-1500

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

COVID-19 and its Effect on Civil Litigation Matters

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email

COVID-19 and its Effect on Civil Litigation Matters

By:

Posted April 2, 2020

While the Superior Court of Justice has suspended most hearings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recently released decisions show how the COVID-19 pandemic is already affecting civil litigation matters in the Province of Ontario.

One such decision is Lancaster Group Inc. v. Kenaidan Contracting Ltd. (2020 ONSC 1653), which was a decision on a motion for security for costs on a construction lien matter. While the motion was heard on November 18, 2019, the decision was released on March 20, 2020, after COVID-19 had been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

While much of the motion is a standard motion for security for costs, of relevance is the Court’s consideration of COVID-19, more specifically the economic impact of COVID-19, in its determination of what constitutes a just order in the circumstances.

While considering the appropriate quantum for security for costs, in addition to considering the existence of other actions, the Court considered what it described as the unknown impact of COVID-19 on the plaintiff, and ultimately ordered that the plaintiff did not have to pay the entire security for costs upfront, instead finding that a “pay-as-you-go” plan was appropriate.

It is interesting that the Court in this decision applied COVID-19 as a mitigating factor to the need for the plaintiff to post security for costs, instead of a factor making it necessary, given the economic instability that COVID-19 has created. However, as Judges possess significant discretion on motions for security for costs and the orders made under these motions, this decision is not conclusive that COVID-19 could not be considered and applied differently in a different matter.

Given that the motion was heard in November, the parties would not have advanced any argument relating to COVID-19. As such, it remains to be seen whether the existence of COVID-19, and its economic impact, could be found by a Court as a factor that may hinder a party’s ability to satisfy a costs award, and therefore strengthening a moving party’s motion for security for costs.

This blog post was written by Alexander Bissonnette, a member of the Commercial Litigation team.  He can be reached at 613-369-0358 or at Alexander.Bissonnette@mannlawyers.com.

More Resources

Blog |
Employment, Labour, and Human Rights

By: 

Generally, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) has been interpreted to protect non-unionized employees from “temporary” lay offs unless their employment contract permits such a[...]
Blog |
Business Law

By: 

Posted October 20, 2021

On October 19, 2021, the new Ontario Business Registry System launched. This new online registry now enables businesses and not-for-profit corporations to directly access services[...]
Blog |
Environmental Law

By: 

Posted October 14, 2021

In the decision of Greenpeace Canada (2471256 Canada Inc. v. Ontario (Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks), 2021 ONSC 4521, released September 3, 2021,[...]
Blog |
Employment, Labour, and Human Rights

By: 

Posted October 1, 2021

This blog continues our exploration of the potential employment law consequences stemming from the degree of control a party exerts within a variety of business[...]
Blog |
Personal Injury

By: 

Posted September 27, 2021

Personal Injury lawyers and their clients are all too familiar with the carnage and suffering caused by impaired drivers.  Canada has the worst rate of[...]
Blog |
Bankruptcy and Insolvency, Business Law

By: 

Posted September 24, 2021

As is noted by the Court of Appeal in McEwen (Re), released August 12, 2021, referred to here as “Traders”, the BIA is a complete[...]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Name*
Consent*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.