Hryniak: Two Years Later: The Multiple Applications of ‘That Summary Judgment Case’ From the Supreme Court of Canada
In January 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Hryniak v Mauldin2 and called for a “culture shift” in the approach to summary judgment and the civil justice system more generally. With the ambitious goal of reducing protracted, costly litigation that undermines access to justice – all the while ensuring the fair and just adjudication of disputes – it is surprising that Hryniak has not garnered more attention.
Or has it? It has been nearly two years since the Supreme Court’s call for change was levied. Since that time, Hryniak has been cited more than 800 times – 606 of those cases are from Ontario.3 This paper will explore the reach of Hryniak and, in particular, the shift in culture that it has begun to usher in; both in the context of motions for summary judgment and in civil justice system as a whole. We will also look at the use of one of the enhanced fact finding powers post Hryniak: the “mini-trial”. Shrouded somewhat in mystery since its unveiling in 2010, the mini-trial appears to offer opportunities within the “significant alternative model of adjudication”4 that summary judgment is intended to be in the wake of Hryniak.
Our review of these issues will be explored through case examples within the following categories:
The Hryniak culture shift and motions for summary judgment;
Hryniak and the civil justice system generally – the culture shift landslide; and
Application of Hryniak to mini-trials:
(a) Mini-trials ordered;
(b) Mini-trials contrary to the interests of justice; and
(c) Mini-trials and juries – are they compatible post-Hryniak?