Judgment Released: April 27, 2011 Link to Judgment
With the advent of the new Rules and recent directions from the court, there is an enhanced emphasis on counsel to take greater ownership and responsibility on behalf of their clients in conducting their litigation in as efficient and diligent manner as possible. The purpose of a status hearing is to find out why the case in question has not been set down for trial within the two-year period prescribed by the Rules and to ensure that an order is made to facilitate steps to move the case forward. It may be that in the clearest of cases where there is a determination of actual prejudice to the defendant; a history of flagrant breaches by the plaintiff of various court orders; and an absence of any explanation for the delay, that the drastic order of dismissing an action at the first status hearing may be appropriate. However, absent clear and extraordinary circumstances, it would not be appropriate to dismiss an action at the first status hearing. The threshold for a plaintiff to show cause at a first status hearing is not an onerous one and a liberal approach ought to be applied. As long as there is no tangible prejudice established and some reasonable explanation provided by the plaintiff, a court ought to consider the onus met.