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Caselines

1. Overview

Caselines is a commercial software program intended for use by the Superior Court to allow the electronic presentation of documents (including evidence) to the court and parties at a hearing. There is a new (2020) Caselines Rule in the Rules of Civil Procedure [R4.05.3].
Note that Caselines is not a substitute for the need to serve and file court documents, which still must be done under the Rules of Civil Procedure (for filing see 'Civil Litigation Portals').
According to the Rules, the hearings that Caselines can apply to include "hearing, pre-trial conference or case conference", in all except the Court of Appeal (thus in the Superior Court and the Divisional Court) [R4.05.3(2)]. In late 2020 and expected early 2021, Caselines is being introduced into the courts, initially in Toronto.

If your case has been selected for Caselines, you should be notified by email of that fact - but pre-notification may only be made within 1-2 weeks of you actually being required to comply (and compliance seems to be subject to five-day pre-hearing deadline) so mastering Caselines now is simply a must.

For better or worse, Caselines is 'the' software system that Ontario courts are going to have to follow, so all of us (including, god help them, self-represented litigants) will have to do what we can to cope.

There are extensive Caselines online (vimeo) seminars available [see the Caselines FAQ, below].

Good luck - I'm afraid we're all going to need it before this new system settles down to some modicum of functionality.


2. Documents Caselines Applies To

If the court requires that 'Caselines' apply to the hearing (it's only mandatory when the court assigns it), parties may be ordered to submit the following documents to Caselines [R4.05.3(3)]:
  • every document the party files or has filed with the court in respect of the hearing or conference;

  • any other document in the court file that the party intends to rely on at the hearing or conference and that has not already been submitted to Caselines by another party, except that a transcript of an examination [under R34] need not be submitted unless it is filed at trial [R4.05.3(5)];

  • a compendium containing the excerpted portions of the cases and of the evidence to which the party intends to refer during the hearing or conference.

3. Timelines for Submission

Timelines for submitting the documents to Caselines are [R4.05.3(4)] (except for transcripts as above in R4.05.3(5)):
  • where the hearing is for a motion or application "where the party is required to give the registrar a confirmation of motion (Form 37B) or confirmation of application (Form 38B)", by the deadline for those confirmations;

  • otherwise, five days.

4. Document Formatting and Naming

Document formats shall be as follows [R4.05.3(6)1,(7)]:
  • drafts orders or facta in both pdf and WP formats;

  • other documents, in pdf format "or, if appropriate, in Excel format, except that an exhibit may be submitted in any format accepted by CaseLines."

  • compendiums and facta in pdf formats with:

    . bookmarks as appropriate for each document and section heading within each document;

    . hyperlinks for the cases and other authorities to free websites or "relevant excerpts of any cited authority for which copies are not available on a website without charge"; and

    . file names (as below).
Document (file) names must indicate [R4.05.3(6)]:
  • the document type,

  • the type of party submitting the document,

  • the name of the party submitting the document, and

  • the date on which the document was created or signed, in the format DD-MMM-YYYY (e.g. 12-JAN-2021).
egs.
Expert Report – Defendant – Loblaws Inc. – 13-MAR-2021
Financial Statement Form 13.1 – Respondent – A. Wong – 21-NOV-2021
11b Application – Defence – Nathanson – 12-JAN-2021

This naming protocol is mandatory after 11 January 2021, even in Small Claims Court.


Practice directions relating to Caselines include:

. Memorandum – Chief Justice Morawetz to all Associations Re: Caselines (July 29, 2020)

An announcement of the starting of the Caseline project.

. Supplementary Notice to the Profession and Litigants in Civil and Family Matters Regarding the Caselines Pilot, E-Filing, and Fee Payment [September 2, 2020; updated 16 April 2021; updated 17 June 2021; updated 05 October 2021; updated 08 November 2021]

A crack at explaining (and reporting on progress of) Caselines, the RCP portals and when emails to the Registrar or Trial Co-ordinators are still appropriate (ie. urgent filings).

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