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Client Update: Changes to the Rules of the Supreme Court

Recent changes to the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1986, SNL 1986, c 42, Sch D

On December 14, 2012, several changes were made to the Rules of the Supreme Court. These changes include: who may act as representative plaintiffs, settlement offers, and contingency agreements.

PUBLIC TRUSTEE REPLACES REGISTRAR

Changes have been made to the rules which dictate who may act as a representative plaintiff in applications for certification, where all the members of the group are under disability. The old Rule 7A.04 allowed a parent, guardian or the registrar to act, whereas now the registrar is replaced with the public trustee.

The same is true for Rule 56.30 with regards to probate and administration of the estate of a mentally disabled person. This rule has been updated to reflect that any role played by the registrar should now be changed to the public trustee.

SETTLEMENT OFFERS UNDER RULE 20A.08

As of February 1, 2013, changes will impact the current provisions for failing to accept a settlement offer, imposing greater penalties to litigants who fail to accept an offer more favourable to an eventual outcome.

Under the new rules, if the plaintiff makes a settlement offer which is refused and the outcome is more favourable than the offer, the plaintiff will be entitled to double party and party costs plus taxed disbursements after the date of service of the offer.

If the defendant makes a settlement offer and the outcome is no more favourable for the plaintiff than that offer, the defendant will be entitled to party and party costs after the date of the offer.

If the defendant makes a settlement offer which is refused by the plaintiff, and the claim is dismissed at trial, the defendant will be entitled to party and party costs to the date of the offer and double party and party costs thereafter.

There will be a new rule regarding the scale of costs, dictating that once a judgment is awarded under a column of costs, that column cannot later be changed if settlement offer consequences apply.

The substantive cost consequences are not applicable to family proceedings.

The determinative date as to whether the new or old rules will apply is the date of the hearing of the matter. Therefore, offers and applications made under the old rules heard after February 1, 2013 will be considered under the new rules unless a successful argument is made otherwise.

CONTINGENCY AGREEMENT

While contingency agreements formally had to be filed with the court under Rule 55.16, this is now repealed and the requirement is only to provide a copy of the signed agreement to the client.

The foregoing is intended for general information only. If you have any questions, or for a detailed list and background of our insurance practice area, please visit www.stewartmckelvey.com.

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