The Superior Court of Justice is one of the busiest courts in the world, so commencing a court application can be intimidating and confusing to people who are not familiar with the procedures of the court. The Toronto Estates List is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice which hears matters such as will challenges, passing of accounts, and guardianship applications (just to name a few). Below you will find the simplified steps of commencing a court application with the Toronto Estates List:
- DRAFT YOUR MATERIALS
Your application materials will consist of a Notice of Application along with an Affidavit and together these two documents will form your application record. The Notice of Application will set out the grounds of the application and the relief that you are seeking. The applicant of the proceeding will swear their own Affidavit which details the facts of the case. A lawyer will usually draft these materials for you, but if you are self-represented it is your responsibility to draft your materials as you will need to serve them on the opposing party. Your application record will also be relied on by a Judge when your matter goes to court.
- ISSUE YOUR NOTICE OF APPLICATION
Now that your materials are finished – you can have your Notice of Application issued with the court. Your Notice of Application can be issued electronically via the Justice Services Online website which can be found here. If your materials are successfully accepted by the court, you will receive an email confirmation enclosing the issued copy of the Application which includes the court stamp and court file number.
- SERVE AND FILE YOUR MATERIALS
Now it is time to serve your materials on the Respondent(s). A Notice of Application is an originating process, meaning that you are required to serve the Respondents by personal service as stated in Rule 16.01 (1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. After serving all the Respondents, you will need to have your Affidavit of Service drafted, sworn, and commissioned. Keep in mind, all materials that are served must be filed in accordance with the deadlines set out in the Rules of Civil Procedure.
- REQUEST YOUR FIRST COURT APPEARANCE
You may now request a hearing date with the court! In Toronto, you will usually have to attend a scheduling appointment prior to a hearing. This court appearance will generally only deal with procedural issues such as scheduling and timetabling. To request a scheduling appointment, you should email the trial coordinator and submit your request form which will include several dates that the court can set your scheduling appointment for. The trial coordinator will then confirm the date of your first court appearance, and you are all set to go!
Please keep in mind that the court rules are subject to change at any time. It is best practice to review the Practice Directions before going to court. You may access Toronto’s Practice Directions by clicking here.
Nothing contained in this post constitutes legal advice or establishes a solicitor-client relationship. If you have any questions regarding your legal rights or legal obligations, you should consult a lawyer.