Changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure - Part 6

Substantial changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure come into effect January 1, 2010. This is part 6 of our review of the amendments.

A new rule has been introduced which imposes additional requirements on experts. Rule 4.1 requires experts to sign an acknowledgment agreeing that they have a duty to provide evidence that is:

a) fair, objective and non-partisan;
b) related only to matters within the expert’s expertise;
c) to provide the court with assistance it needs to determine a matter in issue.

Both plaintiffs and defendants have experts that they use and know have a particular slant. Whether this rule actually results in more balanced reports remains to be seen.

The acknowledgement of duty is contained in Form 53 and it must be attached to every expert report to be relied on at trial. A copy of form 53 can be found on the Ministry of the Attorney General website at:

http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/english/civil/

In addition, expert must include additional information in their reports, such as the information relied on in preparing the report. This may open up an argument that the instructing letter should be disclosed. Counsel should therefore be cautious in what information is provided to the expert.

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