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Insights

Leverage insights from lawyers with decades of experience practicing on the Commercial List.

Lenczner Slaght not only has answers to some of your frequently asked questions regarding all things Commercial List, we’ve endeavored to provide content you can’t find anywhere else. Read our interviews and blogs from some of Toronto’s most active Commercial List litigators for in-depth knowledge on the Court.

What types of matters belong on the Commercial List?

Matters which in essence involve the following may presumptively be started on the Commercial List:

In addition, such other commercial matters as a presiding judge on the commercial list may directly be listed on the commercial list, including suitably complex cases under the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), suitable commercial matters under the International Commercial Arbitration Act (Ontario), the Arbitration Act, 1991 (Ontario) and the Commercial Arbitration Act (Canada).

Only matters relating to the Toronto Region can be listed on the Commercial List. In exceptional cases, a matter outside of the Toronto Region may be authorized to be heard on the Commercial List.

For more information, see the Commercial List Practice Direction.

How do you get your matter on the Commercial List?

For matters that are presumptively entitled to be listed on the Commercial List, the Commercial List Office will issue the action or application.

For matters that require permission of a presiding judge, a judge must be contacted.  This is typically done by contacting the Commercial List Office at toronto.commerciallist@jus.gov.on.ca for a 9:30 appointment to speak to a judge to ask to have the matter started on the Commercial List.  A new matter request form must be completed.

When you appear before the presiding judge, you should have several copies of your Statement of Claim or Notice of Application with you. You should also be prepared to explain to the presiding judge why your matter is an appropriate one for the Commercial List.

Consent of the defendant is helpful in obtaining to a transfer to the Commercial List, but consent is neither necessary nor sufficient. If the case is not appropriate for the Commercial List, the Court may refuse the transfer even if the parties have consented. 

What is a 9:30 appointment?

A 9:30 appointment is an appointment in the judge’s chambers with all counsel.  It is intended to be no more than 10 minutes long and deal with ex parte, urgent scheduling and consent orders. Clients do not attend the 9:30 appointment. 

A brief 1 to 2 page chronology to assist the judge with background is appropriate, but not lengthy briefs. Any materials for a 9:30 appointment should be filed with the Commercial List office before the 9:30.

How do you schedule a 9:30 appointment?

You can schedule a 9:30 appointment by completing a 9:30 request form and sending it by email to toronto.commerciallist@jus.gov.on.ca or by fax to 416-327-6228.

How is a case conference different from a 9:30 appointment?

Case conferences are chambers appointments that are intended to provide for more substantial discussion of matters than is possible at a 9:30 appointment. This can include discussion of contemplated motions, potential settlement, or trial management or scheduling. For any matters that are intended to take longer than 10 minutes, a case conference should be scheduled instead of a 9:30 appointment.

For more information, see the Commercial List practice direction.

How is the Commercial List different from the regular civil list?

There are a number of differences between practice on the Commercial List and the regular civil list. Some of key differences are as follows:

  1. 9:30s and case conferences – 9:30 appointments are a unique feature of the Commercial List.  Case conferences can often also be obtained more easily on the Commercial List than on the regular list.

  2. A single judge – In general, a single commercial list judge will case manage a matter from beginning to end. By contrast, on the regular list, motions and case conferences are typically assigned to any available judge.

  3. Shorter factums – Commercial list factums cannot exceed 25 pages. Factums longer than 25 pages will not be accepted by the Court.

  4. E-Service – The Commercial List allows for electronic service of materials through email or other electronic means. See the E-Service Practice Guide for rules and procedures with respect to e-service.

  5. E-filling – Under the Commercial List’s Digital Hearing Workspace, all counsel must file their court materials online through the Digital Hearing Workspace Platform. See the Practice Advisory Concerning Electronic Documents in Commercial List Proceedings and the Digital Hearing Workspace User Guide for more details.

  6. Overall approach – The Commercial List is guided by the “Three C’s” of cooperation, communication, and common sense.  Commercial List judges expect parties to be collaborative and practical and to avoid unnecessary disputes.  Commercial List judges are generally open to assisting the parties find practical solutions to their disputes.

I keep hearing about the “three c’s of the Commercial List”. What is that?

The “Three C’s of the Commercial List” are cooperation, communication, and common sense.

Cooperation reflects the notion that counsel are expected to try to resolve matters amicably and not bring unnecessary disputes before the Court.

Communications reflects the idea that counsel should maintain open dialogue between themselves so as to ensure the efficient conduct of litigation. Commercial List judges expect that where counsel come to the Court for direction at a 9:30, case management conference, motion, or application, counsel will have discuss the matters so that issues of disagreement can be narrowed and the parties positions’ are well understood.

Common sense is (hopefully) self-explanatory. Commercial List judges are practical, and they expect parties and counsel to be practical as well.

I want to find a model order for a Commercial List proceeding. Where can I find one?

The Superior Court of Justice website includes a variety of Commercial List model orders.  Click here to get them. 

I would like to get more involved in Commercial List practice. How can I learn more?

There are numerous organizations that you can get involved with.  Some of the main ones include:

  1. The Commercial List Users’ Committee – The Committee is comprised of members of the judiciary who sit on the Commercial List from time to time, of practitioners who are familiar with the operation of the Commercial List and who are nominated by relevant user organizations in conjunction with the Users’ Committee and of a representative of Courts Administration from the Commercial List Office. The Users’ Committee meets regularly to consider improvements to the organization and operation of the Commercial List and to make recommendations to the Regional Senior Justice and the Chief Justice in that regard. The Users’ Committee releases a newsletter once a year to update the profession about the Commercial List and practice before the Court. The current and historical newsletters can be found here.

  2. The Advocates’ SocietyThe Advocates’ Society is a nationwide organization that supports and fosters excellence in advocacy. The Advocates’ Society has a commercial litigation practice group which regularly hosts programs relating to commercial litigation and Commercial List practice.

  3. The Ontario Bar AssociationThe Ontario Bar Association is a branch of the Canadian Bar Association and a body that represents lawyers across Ontario. Both the Civil Litigation and Insolvency sections host programs related to Commercial List practice.  

  4. Turnaround Management AssociationThe Turnaround Management Association is an association of corporate restructuring professionals.