practicePRO > Practice aids > RULE 48 TRANSITION RESOURCES


Effective January 1, 2015, a new Rule 48.14 brought significant changes to the administrative dismissal regime in Ontario. After several hundred claims and almost $10 million in claims costs in just three and a half years, LAWPRO is happy to see old Rules 48.14 and 48.15 revoked.

While the new rule may help stem the tide of claims, the changed deadlines, processes and transition provisions introduce new claims risks that may trap the unwary lawyer. LAWPRO encourages all lawyers to familiarize themselves with the requirements under the new Rule 48.14 and make all necessary changes to internal systems and processes.

Our Rule 48 Transition Toolkit provides advice and tools lawyers and law firms can use to lessen the risk of a claim under the new rule.


Critical dates under the new Rule 48.14

  • New Rule 48.14 is effective January 1, 2015
  • New automatic "5 year from date of commencement dismissal" applies to actions commenced on or after January 1, 2012
  • Actions commenced before January 1, 2012, will be automatically dismissed January 1, 2017
  • Transition provisions impact whether a status hearing will occur for pre-January 1, 2015 actions (see page 2 for details)

Click here for the full PDF of the Rule 48 Transition Toolkit, or download the individual components:

  • Summary of significant changes under Rule 48.14: There are some big changes and some hidden nuances that create new claims risks. Download this summary to help you understand the significant changes.

  • Why lawyers let files stall and tips on how to prevent dismissals: Administrative dismissals occur over and over again when a plaintiff's lawyer does not take timely steps and loses sight of litigation deadlines. Understand the typical reasons for stalled files - and use these tips to prevent them.

  • Firm Transition Checklist: Follow these tips to help your firm ensure ticklers and firm systems are properly implemented and updated.

  • Individual File Checklist: Use this checklist to determine the dismissal deadline and take the appropriate steps on individual files.

  • File Progress Plan: The file progress plan can ensure tasks are taken in a timely manner and nothing slips through the cracks for individual files. Click here for instructions on how to use it and to print out the paper form (Adobe Acrobat PDF document PDF version). The file progress plan may be best kept and updated electronically (Text document Word version).

  • Rule 48 Transition Training PowerPoint: Use this PowerPoint presentation, which includes detailed speaking notes, to train lawyers and staff on best practices to prevent a Rule 48 dismissal.

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Here are the most frequently asked questions we have received about the new Rule 48, which includes questions about counterclaims, crossclaims, third party claims; filing a new timetable with the registrar; cost consequences; and family law actions.

January 1, 2017, is approaching fast. On this date files commenced before January 1, 2012 that are not yet set down for trial will be automatically dismissed unless there is an order otherwise or the plaintiff is under disability. LAWPRO encourages lawyers to move their files along and comply with the requirements of the new Rule 48.14. Look for further reminders from LAWPRO in our publications and at CPDs.

Summary of significant changes under Rule 48.14

The significant changes under Rule 48.14, effective January 1, 2015, are summarized in the following points:

  • For actions commenced on or after January 1, 2012, automatic dismissal will occur for cases not set down for trial, without notice to parties or their counsel, five years after the commencement of the action, unless the court orders otherwise. [Rule 48.14(1)]
  • Any action struck from the trial list after January 1, 2015, and not restored by the second anniversary of being struck off, will be dismissed on that date, without notice to parties or their counsel, unless the court orders otherwise. [Rule 48.14(1)]
  • New actions must include the following warning in the preamble of the Statement of Claim and/or Notice of Action, above the registrar's issuance date and signature: "TAKE NOTICE: THIS ACTION WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE DISMISSED if it has not been set down for trial or terminated by any means within five years after the action was commenced unless otherwise ordered by the court."
  • The registrar must serve 48.14 dismissal orders (Form 48D) on all parties [Rule 48.14(2)] and any lawyer served with such an order must promptly give a copy to his or her client. [Rule 48.14(3)]
  • A dismissal can be avoided if a party, with the consent of all other parties, files a timetable and draft order, at least 30 days prior to the relevant dismissal deadline. The timetable and draft order must set out the dates by which outstanding steps necessary for set-down will be completed and a date (no more than two years after the automatic dismissal deadline for the action) by which the action will be set down or restored to the trial list. [Rule 48.14(4)]
  • Where the parties do not consent to a timetable, one party can bring a motion for a status hearing. At that hearing, the plaintiff must show cause why the matter should not be dismissed for delay. The court can dismiss the matter, adjourn the matter, make a Rule 77 case management order, or set deadlines for completion of the steps necessary prior to set-down and/or impose a deadline for set-down for trial (or restoration to the trial list). [Rule 48.14 (5-7)]
  • The dismissal of an action under Rule 48.14 may be set aside under Rule 37.14. [Rule 48.14 (10)]

The transition provisions provide the following:

  • Any action commenced before January 1, 2012 that has not been dismissed or scheduled for a status hearing by January 1, 2015 will be dismissed January 1, 2017 without notice to parties or their counsel. [Rule 48.14(1)]
  • Any action struck from the trial list before January 1, 2015 that has not been restored by January 1, 2017 will be dismissed on that date, without notice to parties or their counsel. [Rule 48.14(1)]
  • Any status hearings scheduled, but not held, before January 1, 2015, will proceed under the old Rule 48.14. [Rule 48.14(12)]
  • Old Rule 48.14 and 48.15 status notices received by parties prior to January 1, 2015 will cease to have effect on that date, unless a status hearing has already been scheduled or the action has already been dismissed. [48.14(11) and (13)]

Litigation claims at-a-glance

Read about the most common causes of litigation-based claims, and about what you can do to protect your practice in our handy two-page Litigation Claims Fact Sheet.


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