Practice Direction - Adjournment Requests
at the Licence Appeal Tribunal

(Disponible en fran├žais)


Background

The Licence Appeal Tribunal ("Tribunal") has developed the following Practice Direction for adjournment requests. This Practice Direction provides general information only and is intended to supplement Rule 16 of the Licence Appeal Tribunal Rules ("Rules"). Statutes, regulations, and the Rules and orders of the Tribunal will always take precedence over any contrary information in this Practice Direction.

Approach to Adjournment Requests

The Tribunal handles thousands of disputes annually, and it has a mandate to ensure the efficient, proportional, and timely resolution of these disputes. Justice Cunningham's 2014 Automobile Insurance Dispute Resolution System Review report also set out a vision for timely dispute resolution.

The Tribunal has a mandate to ensure timely access to accident benefits and the effective administration of the Tribunal. When an application is filed, the Tribunal expects that the parties are ready to proceed and take the steps necessary to ensure the matter moves through the dispute resolution process in a timely way. The Tribunal also expects the parties to comply with the timeframes set out in the Tribunal's Rules and orders, and to be prepared for the adjudicative events established through the Tribunal's scheduling process.

The Tribunal recognizes that in certain compelling circumstances, adjournments may be necessary to ensure the fairness of the proceeding. The Tribunal adjudicates every adjournment request on its individual merits. For example, a party or representative being unable to participate due to an unexpected illness or personal emergency may justify an adjournment. Adjournments for expected and avoidable events, however, are unlikely to be granted.

The Tribunal's approach is consistent with the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, which provides the Tribunal with the authority to control its own procedure.

Process for Requesting an Adjournment

Parties may request an adjournment of an adjudicative event, including a case conference, motion hearing, settlement conference, or written, electronic, or in-person hearing by completing the form for requesting an adjournment available on the Tribunal's website [link to form]. Notices of motion or emails requesting adjournments will not be adjudicated.

Parties must provide specific details of the circumstances giving rise to the request, and the length of the adjournment being sought. If parties provide insufficient reasons the adjournment request will be denied. The submissions must be limited to (5) five pages, as set out in Rule 16. The Tribunal may, at its discretion, contact the parties for responding submissions and/or for additional written submissions.

Requests for adjournments are heard in writing, unless a party can establish the written format will cause significant prejudice, or an accommodation request is made under the Human Rights Code [link to form] and approved by the Tribunal.

The Tribunal expects the parties to be ready to proceed with a scheduled adjudicative event. The Tribunal will rarely grant an adjournment request on the basis that a party is not prepared for a scheduled event.

Motions for Other Relief and an Adjournment Request

If a party files a notice of motion seeking other relief as well as an adjournment, the adjournment request will be heard separately from the motion. The party will be required to file a form for requesting an adjournment. The Tribunal will make separate determinations on the motion and the adjournment request.

Requesting an Adjournment at a Scheduled Event

A request for an adjournment may be made orally before an adjudicator at a scheduled event. Such requests will only be granted in exceptional circumstances where a party did not and could not have known of the circumstances giving rise to the adjournment prior to the event.

A written request for an adjournment may also be heard at a scheduled event by order of the Tribunal. The Tribunal is likely to order an adjournment request be heard at a scheduled event if it is filed less than two full business days before the scheduled event.

Factors Relevant to an Adjournment Request

While each request is adjudicated based on the specific facts of the case and no one factor is determinative, when considering an adjournment request the Tribunal may consider, amongst other factors:

  1. The age of the file;
  2. Whether any previous adjournments have been granted and, if so, whether they were granted on a peremptory basis;
  3. Prejudice to the parties;
  4. Whether the request is on consent;
  5. The type of event the adjournment is being requested for;
  6. The length of notice that the Tribunal has provided to the parties of the event;
  7. The timeliness of the request;
  8. Whether the parties were given the opportunity to canvass their availability;
  9. The specific reasons for being unable to proceed on the scheduled date;
  10. Whether the parties can proceed on an earlier date;
  11. Whether the reason for the adjournment was foreseeable and avoidable, and what efforts, if any, were made to avoid the reason for the adjournment;
  12. The length of the requested adjournment and whether it would unduly delay the proceedings;
  13. Broader institutional and public interests;
  14. Legislative requirements;
  15. The principles of natural justice and fairness;
  16. Operational considerations; and
  17. Any other factors considered relevant in deciding the request.

Scheduling Conflicts and Adjournments

Scheduling conflicts are a common reason for requests for adjournment. The Tribunal attempts to accommodate representatives' calendars when scheduling events and provides several months notice of upcoming adjudicative events.

Representatives are expected to fulfill their obligations under the Law Society Act by making the necessary arrangements to appear for scheduled adjudicative events. If a scheduling conflict means a representative wishes to withdraw, the representative must file a request for removal with the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 24.

Second, Multiple, and New Adjournment Requests

Parties are expected to provide all the information they would like the Tribunal to consider on first submission. The Tribunal will not consider subsequent adjournment requests that are made for essentially the same reasons as the first request, or due to circumstances that would have been known at the time of the first request.

If there are new and exceptional circumstances, a party can submit a new form for requesting an adjournment. For clarity, "new" means that the information was not and could not have been known at the time of the first submission, and "exceptional" means something extraordinary or beyond the parties' control. This may arise, for example, if a party or representative is in the hospital, or experiences a death in the immediate family.

Resources

For more information, please see the following resources: Tribunals Ontario: Request for Accommodation