Summary Judgment Motions

The Ontario Court of Justice issued a good refresher on summary judgment motions in Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto v. C.G., 20018 ONCJ 193.

Summary judgment is a conclusive ending a case short of trial, and such motions are governed by rule 16 of the Family Law Rules.

On motion, the court must consider whether there is a genuine issue for trial, and the onus is on the moving party to establish that no such issue exists.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7 (CanLII), articulated a set of principles to guide courts on summary judgment motions. Those principles include:

  1. Summary judgment rules must be interpreted broadly, favouring proportionality and fair access to the affordable, timely and just adjudication of claims,
  2. Where a summary judgment motion allows the judge to find the necessary facts, to apply the law to the facts and resolve the dispute in a just manner, proceedings at trial would generally not be proportionate, timely or cost-effective.
  3. A process that does not give the judge confidence in the conclusions to be drawn can ever be a proportionate way to resolve the dispute.

The quality of evidence available on motion for summary judgment is very important. Many, if not all, courts require trial-worthy evidence and indeed there is a trend towards only permitting evidence that would be admissible at trial.

Hartman Law is pleased to answer questions one may have on summary judgment motions, so do not hesitate to contact us.