Ontario Superior Court of Justice
The Commercial List was established in 1991 for the hearing of certain actions, applications, and motions in the Toronto Region involving issues of commercial law.
The Commercial List is part of the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario and the Toronto Region is one of eight regions of the Superior Court of Justice.
The matters which may be listed on the Commercial List involve the following:
(a) Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act;
(b) Bank Act, relating to realizations and priority disputes;
(c) Business C01porations Act (Ontario); and the Canada Business Corporations Act;
(d) Companies ‘ Creditors Arrangement Act;
(e) Limited Partnerships Act;
(f) Pension Benefits Act;
(g) Personal Property and Security Act;
(h) Receivership applications in all interlocutory motions to point, or give directions to, receivers and receivers/managers;
(i) Securities Act;
(j) Winding-up and Restructuring Act;
(k) Credit Unions and Casse Populaires Act, relating to credit unions and Casse Populaire under administration or that have been wound-up or liquidated; and
(1) Such other commercial matters as a judge presiding over the Commercial List may direct to be listed on the Commercial List, including: suitably complex cases under the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure); suitable commercial matters under the International Commercial Arbitration Act 2017 (Ontario); Arbitration Act, 1991 (Ontario), and Commercial Arbitration Act (Canada).
The Commercial List is comprised of a supervising judge and six other judges drawn from the Toronto Region complement of eighty-five judges. The Commercial List judges deal with all case management and interim hearings, and not just trials. The practice and procedure of the Commercial List is set out in the Consolidated Practice Direction, which was last revised in 2014.
A Commercial List Users’ Committee has been established. It is comprised of members of the judiciary who sit on the Commercial List, of practitioners who are familiar with the operation of the Commercial List and who are nominated by relevant user organizations in conjunction with the Users’ Committee and of a representative of court’s administration. The Users’ Committee meets regularly to consider improvements to the organization and operation of the Commercial List and to make recommendations to the Regional Senior Justice and the Chief Justice in that regard. The focus of the Commercial List is to provide timely access and resolution to all legal proceedings commenced on the Commercial List. To assist in the process, litigants can access chamber appointments, alternate dispute resolution appointments, and settlement conferences. The Commercial List does have rigorous scheduling requirements. Most proceedings have fixed timetables and trial dates and adjournments are granted only in exceptional circumstances.
The Commercial List has been at the forefront of modernization efforts in the Superior Court of Justice. Examples of this include the introduction of electronic service of documents, e-document delivery for judges and electronic trials. The Commercial List has recently introduced a video-conferencing facility for unopposed and consent motions and for scheduling conferences.
The Commercial List makes extensive use of Model Orders in receivership and organization matters as well as recognition orders of foreign proceedings. These model orders have been developed by the Commercial List Users’ Committee after significant consultations with relevant legal organizations and the judiciary.
A significant portion of the matters on the Commercial List are insolvency related and many involve cross-border matters with the United States. Judges on the Commercial List are experienced in conducting joint hearings with their counterparts in the United States Bankruptcy Court. The sophistication of the courtroom technology is such that it is available to conduct joint trials with other jurisdictions.