In civil litigation, there are a number of motions which counsel and law clerks can expect to regularly encounter. Preparation for these motions is usually within the purview of the law clerk, who is generally responsible for all correspondence leading up to the motion as well as the preliminary drafting of the motion material itself. In view of the law clerk’s important role in the motions process, a thorough understanding of the rules governing motions, as well as the principles behind some of the most common motions, is essential to proper preparation and drafting of motion materials. In addition, thorough preparation for a motion can often make the difference between a motion’s success or failure, or the difference between being granted, or denied, an award of costs.
The most critical aspect of a motion is the foundation, or grounds, for the motion. The process of establishing grounds for a motion often commences weeks or months prior to the actual motion date and generally takes the form of letters of request, telephone calls and investigation. Much of this process can be performed or initiated by law clerks. In this paper, we will review the general principles underlying motion preparation and we will review a number of common motions, including motions for productions, motions to amend pleadings and motions dealing with issues regarding service. Although these motions are often brought by either plaintiff’s or defence counsel, the motions will be discussed primarily from the plaintiff’s perspective and from the point of view of the moving party. Copies of precedent motion materials have been attached to this paper and may serve as an illustrative guide for preparing motion material.
* I gratefully acknowledge the substantial contribution that Tripta S. Chandler has made to this paper.
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