Practice Direction on Adjournment
The Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal (Tribunal) is committed to the just and expeditious determination of discipline proceedings. This Practice Direction provides guidance to parties when requesting an adjournment. It is not a rule within the meaning of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and does not replace the provisions respecting adjournments provided for in Rule 5.01.1.
Strict Adjournment Policy
The Tribunal is committed to using hearing and pre-hearing time efficiently and to avoiding the cost and wasted resources caused by unnecessary adjournments. Requests for adjournments, particularly at the last minute, are a significant impediment to fair and timely protection of the public and access to justice.
Once hearing dates are scheduled, normally done on consent, parties are expected to be ready to proceed on those dates. Adjournments may be necessary in certain circumstances, and the courts have said that failure to grant an adjournment can constitute a denial of natural justice in certain circumstances. Adjournment requests are discouraged except where necessary and especially so on short notice before a scheduled hearing date. The timing of an adjournment request will be a factor to be considered on an application for an adjournment.
Requests for Adjournments Prior to Scheduled Hearing Dates
The request for an adjournment must be made as soon as the need for it arises. The request must provide the information required by Rule 5.01.1 and include available dates for the rescheduling of the hearing as confirmed with the Tribunal Office, and whether the motion is on consent, unopposed, or opposed.
The fact that an adjournment request is made on consent will be a factor to be considered but is not determinative. Broader institutional and public interests including substantive and procedural considerations, the overall objective of a determination of the matter on its substantive merits as well as providing a fair hearing must also be considered. It is the Tribunal and not the parties or their counsel that decides whether to adjourn and, if so, on what terms.
The determination will be made in each case taking into account a variety of substantive and procedural considerations, including the overall objective of a determination of the matter on its substantive merits as well as providing the parties an opportunity for a fair hearing.
A decision respecting an adjournment request will be delivered in writing, with reasons.
Requests for Adjournments After the Hearing Begins
Where an adjournment request is made too close to the scheduled hearing date for the Chair or a case management chair to deal with it, the Hearing Panel may hear the request on the date scheduled for the hearing.
An adjournment request, on or after the commencement of the hearing, should be made only in exceptional circumstances. Any adjournment granted at this stage will likely be made on strict terms.
Approved: April 4, 2013 | Revised: September 1, 2021