Procedural Law in Canada
is the body of rules, which defines the way a court handles civil
lawsuits, as well as criminal
or administrative proceedings. The main purpose of procedural law is to ensure the fair and consistent application of the judicial process and to serve justice in all court cases. Procedural law deals with the way the court works, rather than testing the validity of claims and defenses, which is, on the other hand, the subject of substantive law.
Civil procedure standardizes the aspects of a court case in order to provide every person with fair and equal opportunity to be heard and support their case. Involved parties are expected to be familiar with these rules because otherwise, they can jeopardize their chances of winning the case.
, the purpose of civil procedure is defined by the province of Ontario
in the following manner: securing the most expeditious, just, and least expensive determination in all civil proceedings on its merits. Because of the confederative nature of the Canadian state, each province has established its own specific set of rules to be followed. Most of them have based the civil procedure on mixed English and American rules, further adapted to the needs of each province.
There is, however, the option for courts to control their processes by the right of their inherent jurisdiction, provided that this action does not get in conflict with the standing rules or statutes. Therefore, a court may not dispense or alter compliance with a process, which has been contemplated by the civil procedure. Exceptions
are possible only if they are in the interest of justice.
In terms of procedures for amendments, civil procedure is usually developed by a committee of local jurisdiction judges, which recommends procedural changes. Any amendment must first be ratified by the attorney general of the respective jurisdiction before it can become effective.
New Rules of Civil Procedure came into effect in Ontario as of 2010, following major revisions that were meant to make the justice system more accessible and affordable for the Canadian citizens
and residents. Changes were made primarily in the areas of Discovery, Mediation, and Summary Judgment. The reform is also intended to enforce a degree of restraint on the discovery process for the sake of efficiency, as well as imposing a degree of limitation on unjustified inquiry.
The concept of a Discovery Plan was also introduced, which covers the collection, identification, review, and production of information, including such that is on an electronic medium. Proportionality is also taken into consideration, as the costs and delay of obtaining documents should be justified by the gravity of the lawsuit. As a whole, it may be considered that the new rules are better adapted to contemporary technological realities and provide more detailed regulation regarding different sorts of electronic evidence.
Further amendments impose certain time limits on specific elements of the proceedings, such as the time allowed for oral examinations, taking into account the intricacy of issues in question, involved amounts of money, financial positions, and naturally - the interest of justice.