Focus On

Access to Justice


Friday, July 03, 2020 @ 4:24 PM

Federal committee releases guidance on jury trial reboot

A action committee of justice officials has released guidance on resuming criminal jury trials that includes considering the use of conference centres for jury selection and rearranging where jurors sit in a courtroom. ... [read more]

Friday, July 03, 2020 @ 9:47 AM

Quebec justice makes ‘giant strides’ with addition of Digital Court Office, bar president says Paul-Matthieu Grondin

With its recent implementation of an online filing system, Quebec is joining the growing ranks of Canadian jurisdictions that are accelerating the technological shift in the justice system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Digital Court Office of Quebec, launched in mid-June, will allow any person to file a pleading with the Quebec Superior Court and the Court of Quebec, a development widely embraced by Quebec’s legal community. ... [read more]

Thursday, July 02, 2020 @ 8:55 AM

Canadian artists need better access to legal services: report Martha Rans

The legal requirements of artists in Canada have now reached a critical tipping point heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Action is required to address gaps, respond to the unique needs of the sector and provide information and training, according to a new report prepared by the National Network of Legal Clinics for the Arts. ... [read more]

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 @ 11:31 AM

Pandemic promises lasting legacy of improvements for N.W.T. justice system, says minister Caroline Wawzonek sm

As it continues to struggle with some of the highest crime and incarceration rates in Canada, the Northwest Territories justice system will emerge in some ways stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic, says its justice minister. “This has obviously been a very stressful time to be in the position I’m in,” said Caroline Wawzonek, a former Yellowknife criminal lawyer who serves as both justice minister and finance minister in the cabinet of Northwest Territories (N.W.T.) Premier Caroline Cochrane. ... [read more]

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 @ 9:47 AM

Blow up 2020 to start over in 2021 | Laurelly Dale

Canada Day is around the corner. I fondly remember a few years back flipping through my copy of Canada at 150: Building a Free and Democratic Society. I look forward to the sequel, Canada at 200: How Kenny vs. Spenny Became Canada’s First Dual Prime Ministers. I anticipate that it will contain at least two chapters devoted to the rapid transformation of our criminal justice system.  ... [read more]

Monday, June 29, 2020 @ 4:41 PM

Ontario Superior Court of Justice unveils first phase of courtroom reopening

Starting July 6, Ontario will resume in-person proceedings at 56 Superior Court of Justice courtrooms in the first phase of its provincewide reopening. The specific court locations are detailed in a June 25 Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused, Media and Members of the Public. ... [read more]

Monday, June 29, 2020 @ 3:48 PM

Federal Court announces end of last suspension order

Emerging from its COVID-19 closure, the Federal Court is poised to resume full proceedings across Canada with the expiration of its last remaining suspension period. The Federal Court served notice in a June 25 practice direction and order that its suspension period for Ontario, Quebec, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon will expire at day’s end June 29. ... [read more]

Monday, June 29, 2020 @ 9:32 AM

National pro bono initiative responds to Canadians hit hard by pandemic legal problems Alex Don sm

A growing movement to support Canadians struggling with legal problems brought on by the COVID-19-pandemic has so far recruited about 25 lawyers and 415 law students. Launched in May by McGill University Faculty of Law graduates Alex Don, Mark Mejia Kuznetsova and Rapti Ratnayake, the National Canadian Lawyers’ Initiative (NCLI) has so far assisted more than 100 people, providing one to five hours of legal advice online per person or referring them to a local pro bono legal service, where possible. ... [read more]

Monday, June 29, 2020 @ 8:44 AM

In defence of civil jury trials | Sam Goldstein

Attorney General Doug Downey floated legislative amendments recently that would eliminate some or all civil jury trials in Ontario. Eliminating jury trials is seen as a partial solution to the problem of court backlog exacerbated by the pandemic. The AG has said that the move is part of a broader effort to modernize this province’s justice system. Ontario is one of the few provinces that still allows civil jury trials for most cases. ... [read more]

Friday, June 26, 2020 @ 3:55 PM

‘Status quo is not an option’ as Donnelly becomes Law Society of Ontario treasurer Law Society of Ontario treasurer Teresa Donnelly

Teresa Donnelly has taken the reins as treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, saying the time has come for a “careful and transformative shift” in the law society’s approach in regulating lawyers and paralegals while not losing sight of the law society’s duty to protect the public interest. ... [read more]