Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, August 28, 2020

Court-ordered timelines must be respected, even in a pandemic: A discussion of Lima v Ventura (Estate of), 2020 ONSC 3278

CourtMany aspects of the legal process have changed dramatically in the wake of COVID-19. However, one thing has remained intact, procedural timelines set out in court orders. 

In the Canadian case Lima v. Ventura (Estate of), an applicant attempted to extend a court-ordered deadline for his purchase pf the deceased home. However, the court denied the extension on the grounds that the appellant failed to present "persuasive evidence" in support of the request. The court made clear that the court-ordered deadlines "are to be respected."

Justice Emery emphasized that a moving party must present persuasive evidence that the pandemic (COVID-19) "presented circumstances and reasons that frustrated or prevented compliance with the order in question. 

The Court also laid out a list of factors to consider on motions related to delays due to COVID-19 that could justify altering a court-ordered deadline:

  1. The steps not taken were necessary to carry out the terms of any order, and no other alternative to taking those steps would have served that purpose;
  2. The steps were not taken because of the moving party’s inability to access business, professional or institutional offices physically or electronically because of COVID-19 protocols;
  3. An extension of time would not be contrary to any law, or the rights of other person under an order of any court;
  4. A reasonable explanation is provided for not taking the required steps, or why it was difficult or impossible to comply with the order for COVID-19 related reasons;
  5. The moving party has made best efforts to otherwise comply with the order, and all other terms of the order that were not impeded by the COVID-19 protocols have been met; and
  6. The moving party has acted in good faith.

In this case, appellant failed to provide the requisite evidence to meet the requirements of a court-ordered deadline extension. 

See Kathryn McCulloh, Court-ordered timelines must be respected, even in a pandemic: A discussion of Lima v Ventura (Estate of), 2020 ONSC 3278, Dentons Commercial Litigation Blog (Canada), August 20, 2020.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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