Ontario Court of Appeal Orders Appeal to Be Heard In Writing During COVID-19
Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 476 v Wong, 2020 ONCA 244 is a very short 12 paragraph decision that is worth the read.
The appeal at issue was scheduled for April 9, 2020, however, given that oral in-person hearings have been suspended due to COVID-19, the parties were asked whether they would agree to either (1) have the appeal heard in writing or (2) to have the matter adjourned to a date in September or early October.
The issues were basic and the parties did not disagree that they could be resolved via their written submissions.
However, the appellant expressed a preference for in-person oral arguments at a future date. The ONCA stated that while this preference was “understandable” it was “not in the interests of justice.”
The ONCA found that “it is in the interests of justice to have the appeal proceed in writing based on the materials filed”, and ordered that the parties would have an opportunity to respond to questions the panel had via teleconference on the scheduled hearing date.
Most importantly, the Court stated that “it is not in the interests of justice to overburden the court by adjourning matters that can be dealt with fairly, as scheduled. The backlog that will be created by cases that must be adjourned to protect the public and ensure fair hearings will be imposing and it should not be unnecessarily aggravated.”
Perhaps this decision is a sneak peak into how the minds of the Courts at all levels, and how they will soon be dealing with certain matters that are being delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.