Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Practice Direction

The Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench has issued the following practice direction regarding pre-trial briefs in civil actions: 

When the Queen’s Bench Rules were most recently amended, the requirement to file a responding pre-trial brief was changed to the following:

Responding pre-trial brief

50.02(6) Any party to the action that wishes to file a responding pre-trial brief at the first pre-trial conference must file the brief with the court and serve it on all other parties at least seven days before the pre-trial conference.

The impetus for this amendment was to reconcile the issue of the responding party filing a pre-trial brief with the introduction of the screening function provided in Rule 50.04, wherein it was considered disproportionate to require the filing of a responding pre-trial brief if it was the responding party’s position that the pre-trial conference ought not to proceed. There has been an increasing number of pre-trial conferences where there is no suggestion that the pre-trial conference ought not to proceed, but the responding party has not filed a responding pre-trial brief on the basis of Rule 50.02(6). It was always anticipated that prudent practice would dictate that where an action is properly at a pre-trial conference, the responding party would file a pre-trial brief.

Given the potential disruption to the pre-trial conference process of not having responding pre-trial briefs, pending review of a related rule amendment by the Statutory Rules Committee, it is now directed that the responding party to a scheduled pre-trial conference file a pre-trial brief with the court and serve it on all other parties at least seven days before the pre-trial conference. Where it is the responding party’s position that the pre-trial conference ought not to proceed, the responding party, in the pre-trial brief, may indicate this position, along with its reasons. Where the responding party does not object to the pre-trial conference proceeding, the responding party’s brief must respond to the pre-trial brief of the party who sought the pre-trial conference, 2 including a response to the statement of the factual and legal issues in the action and the estimated duration of the trial. The responding party’s pre-trial brief should also address any pre-trial orders or directions that may be sought from the pre-trial judge.

Coming into effect

This Practice Direction comes into effect immediately.

Notice from the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench

The Court recently published Version 5 of the  Mandatory Standard Clauses for Family Division Orders. The use of standard clauses has been mandatory since 1998.

Version 5 of the Standard Clauses reflects legislative changes that have come into force since the release of Version 4 of the Standard Clauses and contains many other changes to clause wording and footnotes. The terms used in the applicable legislative and regulatory provisions and Rules were taken into account as clauses were drafted.

Be sure to read the entire notice for full instructions.

Notice to the Profession

The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench has issued a notice of amendments to the QB Rules which will come into force on April 1,  2018:

RE: AMENDMENTS TO COURT OF QUEEN’S BENCH RULES

The following amendments regarding service, proof of service and default in cases involving the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (the Hague Service Convention) will come into force on April 1, 2018.

The objectives of the amendments are to clarify the Rules respecting service (including substituted service, dispensation with service and validation and proof of service) and noting default, and granting and setting aside of default judgment, in cases where service is required under the Hague Service Convention.

The full text of these Rule amendments (M.R. No. 11/2018) can be viewed here.

New Practice Direction re Judge-Alone Trials

The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench has issued the following new practice direction:

Beginning in February 2018, as a one-year pilot project, all pre-trial conferences for judge-alone trials in the case of new criminal matters will be managed by one of approximately eight judges. A first group of four of these pre-trial judges will be assigned to this project for the first six months of the year and a second group of four pre-trial judges will be assigned to this project for the second six months of the year. Each new criminal matter proceeding by judge-alone will be assigned to one of these pre-trial judges.

Please read the practice direction in full.