Last year, Mr. Justice Ted Matlow held, in Bensusan v. Ali, that motions for summary judgment had to be brought before a master. His Honour has now released a new decision in which he has concluded, correctly, in our view, that the substantial amendments that have been made to Rule 20 mean that motions for summary judgment can be mdae to either a judge or a master, at the option of the moving party.
Unlike Bensusan, Abrams v. Air Canada was decided since the changes to Rule 20. As Justice Matlow observed, the amendments give to judges powers that are not enjoyed by masters. In particular, subrule 20.04(2.1) is entirely new and allows judges to weigh evidence, evaluate credibility and draw reasonable inferences from the evidence. (As we’ve said elsewhere, does this mean that masters are not allowed to draw reasonable inferences from the evidence placed before them?)
Given the wording of the new version of Rule 20, Justice Matlow’s conclusion, that motions for summary judgment can be brought before either a judge or a master, seems inescapable.