Court gives civil lawyers reprieve from dismissal threat

At least one Ontario court location has decided not to implement Rule 48 of the Rules of Civil Procedure this month after concerns about bureaucratic red tape and confusion over its wording cast a chill over the change that threatened to cause dismissals of a wave of civil actions.

Rule 48 first surfaced in October 2009 after a series of amendments to the Rules that allowed for quicker dismissals of dormant actions due to delay. Lawyers became worried late last year following warnings that several actions faced dismissal on Jan. 1, 2012,
as a result of the change.

At least one prominent lawyer is worried about the changes. According to Andrew Murray of Lerners LLP’s London, Ont., office, the rule has caught many lawyers by surprise and its wording isn’t clear when it comes to the steps they must take to ensure the court doesn’t dismiss their actions.

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