Rule 13 – Settlement Conferences

Settlement Conference Required in Defended Action

13.01 (1) A settlement conference shall be held in every defended action.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Duty of Clerk

(2) The clerk shall fix a time, date and place for the settlement conference and serve a notice of settlement conference, together with a list of proposed witnesses (Form 13A), on the parties.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Timing

(3) The settlement conference shall be held within 90 days after the first defence is filed.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Exception

(4) Subrules (1) to (3) do not apply if the defence contains an admission of liability for all of the plaintiff’s claim and a proposal of terms of payment under subrule 9.03 (1).  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Attendance

13.02 (1) A party and the party’s representative, if any, shall, unless the court orders otherwise, participate in the settlement conference,

(a) by personal attendance; or

(b) by telephone or video conference in accordance with rule 1.07. O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27; O. Reg. 230/13, s. 14.

Authority to Settle

(2) A party who requires another person’s approval before agreeing to a settlement shall, before the settlement conference, arrange to have ready telephone access to the other person throughout the conference, whether it takes place during or after regular business hours.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Additional Settlement Conferences

(3) The court may order the parties to attend an additional settlement conference.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

(4) The clerk shall fix a time and place for any additional settlement conference and serve a notice of settlement conference, together with a list of proposed witnesses (Form 13A) on the parties.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Failure to Attend

(5) If a party who has received a notice of settlement conference fails to attend the conference, the court may,

(a) impose appropriate sanctions, by way of costs or otherwise; and

(b) order that an additional settlement conference be held, if necessary.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

(6) If a defendant fails to attend a first settlement conference, receives notice of an additional settlement conference and fails to attend the additional settlement conference, the court may,

(a) strike out the defence and dismiss the defendant’s claim, if any, and allow the plaintiff to prove the plaintiff’s claim; or

(b) make such other order as is just.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Inadequate Preparation, Failure to File Material

(7) The court may award costs against a person who attends a settlement conference if,

(a) in the opinion of the court, the person is so inadequately prepared as to frustrate the purposes of the conference;

(b) the person fails to file the material required by subrule 13.03 (2).  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Purposes of Settlement Conference

13.03 (1) The purposes of a settlement conference are,

(a) to resolve or narrow the issues in the action;

(b) to expedite the disposition of the action;

(c) to encourage settlement of the action;

(d) to assist the parties in effective preparation for trial; and

(e) to provide full disclosure between the parties of the relevant facts and evidence.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Disclosure

(2) At least 14 days before the date of the settlement conference, each party shall serve on every other party and file with the court,

(a) a copy of any document to be relied on at the trial, including an expert report, not attached to the party’s claim or defence; and

(b) a list of proposed witnesses (Form 13A) and of other persons with knowledge of the matters in dispute in the action.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

(3) At the settlement conference, the parties or their representatives shall openly and frankly discuss the issues involved in the action.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Further Disclosure Restricted

(4) Except as otherwise provided or with the consent of the parties (Form 13B), the matters discussed at the settlement conference shall not be disclosed to others until after the action has been disposed of.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Recommendations to Parties

13.04 The court may make recommendations to the parties on any matter relating to the conduct of the action, in order to fulfil the purposes of a settlement conference, including recommendations as to,

(a) the clarification and simplification of issues in the action;

(b) the elimination of claims or defences that appear to be unsupported; and

(c) the admission of facts or documents without further proof.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Orders at Settlement Conference

13.05 (1) A judge conducting a settlement conference may make any order relating to the conduct of the action that the court could make.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

(2) Without limiting the generality of subrule (1), the judge may,

(a) make an order,

(i) adding or deleting parties,

(ii) consolidating actions,

(iii) with written reasons, staying or dismissing the action,

(iv) amending or striking out a claim or defence under subrule 12.02 (1),

(v) Revoked: O. Reg. 44/14, s. 12 (3).

(vi) directing production of documents,

(vii) changing the place of trial under rule 6.01,

(viii) directing an additional settlement conference under subrule 13.02 (3), and

(ix) ordering costs; and

(b) at an additional settlement conference, order judgment under subrule 13.02 (6). O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27; O. Reg. 44/14, s. 12.

Recommendations to Judge

(3) If the settlement conference is conducted by a referee, a judge may, on the referee’s recommendation, make any order that may be made under subrules (1) and (2).  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Consent to Final Judgment

(4) A judge may order final judgment at a settlement conference where the matter in dispute is for an amount under the appealable limit and a party files a consent (Form 13B) signed by all parties before the settlement conference indicating that they wish to obtain final determination of the matter at the settlement conference if a mediated settlement is not reached.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Service of Order

(5) Within 10 days after the judge signs an order made at a settlement conference, the clerk shall serve the order on the parties that were not present at the settlement conference in accordance with subrule 8.01 (6).  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Memorandum

13.06 (1) At the end of the settlement conference, the court shall prepare a memorandum summarizing,

(a) recommendations made under rule 13.04;

(b) the issues remaining in dispute;

(c) the matters agreed on by the parties;

(d) any evidentiary matters that are considered relevant; and

(e) information relating to the scheduling of the remaining steps in the proceeding.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

(2) The memorandum shall be filed with the clerk, who shall give a copy to the trial judge.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Notice of Trial

13.07 At or after the settlement conference, the clerk shall provide the parties with a notice stating that one of the parties must request a trial date if the action is not disposed of within 30 days after the settlement conference, and pay the fee required for setting the action down for trial.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Judge Not To Preside At Trial

13.08 A judge who conducts a settlement conference in an action shall not preside at the trial of the action.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Withdrawal of Claim

13.09 After a settlement conference has been held, a claim against a party who is not in default shall not be withdrawn or discontinued by the party who brought the claim without,

(a) the written consent of the party against whom the claim is brought; or

(b) leave of the court.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.

Costs

13.10 The costs of a settlement conference, exclusive of disbursements, shall not exceed $100 unless the court orders otherwise because there are special circumstances.  O. Reg. 78/06, s. 27.