Civil procedure in Canada
In Canada, the rules of civil procedure are administered by each jurisdiction (federal and each province) and thus each has its own set of rules. Most provinces base their civil procedure rules on the mixture of English and American rules adapted to the needs of the province. The Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure have been largely adopted by Manitoba, PEI, and North West Territories.
In Ontario, the stated general principle of the Rules of Civil Procedure is
to secure the just, most expeditious and least expensive determination of every civil proceeding on its merits.
Civil procedure is generally developed by a civil procedure committee consisting of judges of the local jurisdiction. This committee makes recommendations concerning procedural changes which must be ratified by the attorney general of that jurisdiction in order to move into effect.
The courts may also exercise inherent jurisdiction to control their own processes, but inherent jurisdiction cannot be exercised so as to conflict with a statute or rule. As a result, if a process has been contemplated by the civil procedure a court does not have the authority to alter or dispense compliance with that process.
The noted exception to the required compliance with the civil procedure is that the rules themselves often contain a rule which permits a court to
only where and as necessary in the interest of justice, dispense with compliance with any rule at any time.
The onus is on the party seeking to dispense with compliance with a rule to demonstrate that it is in the interest of justice.
Alternative dispute resolution proceedings and administrative law proceedings both tend to have relatively simple rules of procedure, in comparison to the highly formalized procedures seen in the federal and provincial courts.
- Supreme Court of Canada, Gustovson Drilling, 1976