The recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Khan
v. Metroland Printing, Publishing and & Distributing Ltd. et
al is a useful reminder that even though the wheels of justice
may feel like they turn slowly, there is a limit to
This case arose out of a mayoral election in Richmond Hill,
Ontario in 1997. The successful candidate in that election was
William Bell. The unsuccessful candidate was Colleen
Khan. Both are now deceased.
In January 1998, Ms. Khan and others commenced this action
alleging that defamatory statements, including statements allegedly
made by Mr. Bell, were published in Metroland's
newspaper. The action was defended and Bell also delivered a
counterclaim alleging that Ms. Khan's campaign literature
included defamatory statements about him.
The pleadings and examinations for discovery were completed in
Nothing else happened to move the case forward. In 2001,
the Court made an Order requiring Mr. Bell to pay security for
costs into Court. That Order was finally set aside in May
Nothing took place between May 2005 until February 2013 when the
Defendants brought a motion to dismiss the action for
delay. In response, the Plaintiffs insisted that they still
intended to proceed with the case.
The Judge hearing the motion pointed out that over fifteen years
had passed since the alleged defamation took place and fourteen
years had passed since the action was started. While the position
of the Khans on the motion was that they wanted to proceed to
trial, there was simply no explanation as to why the action was not
set down on the trial list in the subsequent fourteen years.
In this case, there was evidence of actual prejudice as a result
of the loss of witnesses, as well as a presumption of prejudice
arising from the delay.
The action was dismissed and on appeal to the Court of Appeal,
the appeal was dismissed with costs.
Notwithstanding efforts that have been made in the
administration of our court system, there are delays inherit in the
system. At the moment, in Toronto, it can take seven months to
obtain time from the Court for the hearing of a Masters motion. A
motion before a judge will take at least four months, and only if
it is relatively short. So an action can still take a long time to
get to trial, even if both sides move the case along in a
reasonable way. But if the parties allow an action to
languish, this case is a useful reminder that there is indeed a
limit to how long that will be
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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