If you are not familiar with Divisional Court, it is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice and acts as an appellate court. It hears certain types of appeals and applications for judicial review.
Unlike a trial, where there is one judge and sometimes a jury, counsel at Divisional Court present to three judges of the Superior Court. Counsel in Sabadash v Statefarm worked to persuade Madame Justice Swinton, Madame Justice Copeland, and Madame Justice Thorburn, a formidable panel of accomplished judges.
"As an appellate court, parties don’t advance new evidence at the hearing; instead, they muster their best legal arguments in support of their position."
In Sabadash v Statefarm, the legal issues were:
- What is the standard of review for a Director’s Delegate’s decision at the Financial Services Tribunal?
- What is the proper test for causation in accident benefits cases, “but-for” or “material contribution”?
- What remedy should be ordered?
Another useful strategy I learned in law school and observed being used by counsel was the use of an argument roadmap. Before launching into an hour-long presentation/conversation with your judges, they want to know what you’re going to talk about, and when they can ask the questions of you they formulated reviewing your material.
Outside of Toronto, Divisional Court sits infrequently on an annual schedule. If you are interested in learning about the Divisional Court, call your local courthouse to see when it is sitting next.
by Lee Chitty