Question from Bill, Can New Evidence Reopen a Civil Case in Canada?
Answer from AI:
If you have discovered new evidence after losing a civil trial and the time for an appeal has passed, you may be wondering what options are available to you to have this evidence considered by the court. In Canada, the legal system does provide mechanisms to address such situations, but they are typically subject to strict criteria and limitations.
Options for Introducing New Evidence After a Civil Trial
- Motion for a New Trial: You may be able to file a motion for a new trial. This is a request to the court to set aside the judgment and start over. Courts may grant a new trial if there is evidence that is material to the case, was not discoverable with reasonable diligence before the trial, and could potentially have affected the outcome of the trial.
- Appeal Based on Fresh Evidence: Although the time for a standard appeal may have passed, Canadian courts sometimes allow an appeal to be reopened based on fresh evidence. This is rare and usually requires showing that the new evidence could not have been obtained by due diligence before the trial ended, and that if admitted, it would probably have an important influence on the result.
- Setting Aside a Judgment for Fraud: If the new evidence suggests that the judgment was obtained by fraud, you might be able to have the judgment set aside. This would typically require initiating a separate legal action to prove the fraud.
Considerations and Limitations
- The new evidence must be substantial and likely to have a significant impact on the outcome of the case.
- There are often strict time limits for bringing forward such motions or appeals, and exceptions to these limits are not granted lightly.
- The process can be complex and may require the assistance of a legal professional.
Consulting a Legal Professional
Given the complexity of the legal procedures involved and the importance of adhering to specific legal criteria and deadlines, it is highly recommended that you consult with a lawyer who specializes in civil litigation. A lawyer can provide personalized advice based on the details of your case and the nature of the new evidence.
For general information on the civil litigation process and potential remedies after a trial, you can refer to resources such as:
- The Department of Justice Canada, which provides information on the Canadian legal system and civil justice.
- Provincial or territorial law societies, which often offer public legal education and information.
While the discovery of new evidence after a civil trial can be frustrating, especially when settlement discussions with the defendant have failed, there are legal avenues available to potentially have the evidence adjudicated. However, these options are not guaranteed and are subject to stringent legal standards. It is crucial to seek legal advice to understand the viability of your case in light of the new evidence and to navigate the appropriate legal procedures effectively.