Masters have been a fixture in the Toronto Court system for many
years. For those who are unfamiliar, a Master is an adjudicator who
is permitted to hear certain proceedings and make certain Orders.
Unlike a Judge who has inherent jurisdiction, the Master takes
his/her jurisdiction from statute and the Rules of Civil Procedure.
In municipalities and counties where there are no Masters
a Judge hears all matters. As such, in municipalities and
counties where there are Masters, the Masters typically lift a
heavy burden off of the Judges in those jurisdictions. Indeed, the
Toronto Masters carry a heavy workload. In Toronto, Masters motions
are heard every day of the week. Typically there are anywhere from
4 - 6 Masters sitting on a given day, and their respective dockets
tend to range anywhere from 5 - 20 matters.
Despite their utility and ability to specialize in adjudicating
certain types of disputes, the Master has been a rare creature
outside of Toronto. Toronto currently has 13 sitting Masters.
Ottawa has also had a Master for some time, and according to the
Masters' administration in Ottawa, there are now 2 Masters
sitting in Ottawa. Additionally, Master Brott has for some time
tended to matters in Newmarket on a part time basis.
It was recently announced that Master McAfee will be
sitting in Milton (at least part time).
Some people I have spoken to have questioned whether spreading
the Masters out geographically (without hiring new
Masters) serves to facilitate or hinder access to Justice. For
every Master that is removed from Toronto, the wait to hear a
Toronto Masters Motion (which is already in excess of 4 months)
theoretically will grow. Additionally, depending on the practice
direction taken in other jurisdictions, the addition of a Master
may actually serve to increase motion wait times.
By way of example, as of today's date, the first available
dates to appear in front of the Master in Newmarket is in November.
However, Judges motions can be booked in relatively short order. If
the Newmarket court will insist that motions that can be
heard by the Master must wait until the Master is available, as
opposed to proceeding before a Judge at an earlier date (something
I have not had the opportunity to inquire about as of yet), then
numerous motions which could otherwise be heard in short order will
have to wait many months to be adjudicated.
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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