Motor vehicle litigation up

The total number of active civil cases in Canadian courts last year was up slightly, but the overall totals have remained virtually unchanged in the past five years, according to Statistics Canada

The one area where there continues to be more volume though, is motor vehicle litigation with 20-per-cent more active cases than five years earlier.

The information is part of the annual Statistics Canada civil court survey, which was released today. The survey collects data on civil court events and cases at the superior, provincial and territorial court levels, for the fiscal years ending March 31. Appellate courts and federal courts are not included in the survey.

In 2013-14, there were 613,622 civil cases in the country (not including family law) which had at least one event take place in the courts over that period. The largest single type of action was motor vehicle, with 116,472 cases. That is up from just over 94,000 in the 2009-10 period.

The next highest category was contract-related litigation, not including collection or bankruptcy proceedings, with nearly 81,000 cases.

The survey also suggests that the number of proceedings that are not resolved for lengthy periods is not falling significantly. There were nearly 89,000 cases in the system in the last fiscal year that were initiated at least four years earlier and not considered inactive.

In the family law sphere, the trends in the Statistics Canada survey are similar. There were 313,000 active cases in 2013-14, almost unchanged from the previous year, although down nearly five per cent from the 2009-10 period.

There were also just over 41,000 of those active cases last year, which were initiated at least four years earlier. That number is also virtually unchanged in recent years.

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