Legal Word of the Day: “Non-Suit”

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“Non-Suit” — A civil or criminal case that lacks merit on an essential element may be found to be a “non-suit,” because there is insufficient prima facie evidence to support the claim or charge.

In some actions, a common law rule applies to non-suit motions. The defence is asked to make an “election” — whether it intends to lead evidence in defence. If the answer is no, and the motion fails, the defence may not be permitted to lead evidence in defence of the action. If yes, the motion is reserved.

Related Cases:

410812 Ontario Limited v. The Queen, 2002 CanLII 11 (TCC)
A.C.J. Bowman develops guidelines regarding non-suit motions and elections, at p. 32–34.

Nancy’s Bar & Grill Inc. (Nancy’s Bar & Grill) (Re), 2011 CanLII 19720 (ON AGC)
Bar fights lead to a Liquor Licence hearing.

Non-suit is covered extensively in “The Law of Evidence in Canada,” written by Supreme Court Justice John Sopinka; it has been republished several times with co-authors.

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