Focus On

Access to Justice


Monday, June 08, 2020 @ 1:49 PM

Senior family court judge fears self-represented litigants being left behind by COVID-19 Suzanne Stevenson

Ontario’s most senior family court judge is sounding the alarm about a significant drop in self-represented litigants brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re trying to get the message out there that we are open, but they are not coming to court, and that’s a huge concern for access to justice,” Justice Suzanne M. Stevenson, senior judge of the family court, said in a May 28 fireside chat organized by the Ontario Bar Association. ... [read more]

Monday, June 08, 2020 @ 12:39 PM

How to fight systemic injustice against racialized, Indigenous people | Angelique EagleWoman

For Indigenous and racialized lawyers and judges, the experience of racial profiling occurs when entering courthouses and being seen as either an offender or a victim. On page 22 in the “Guide for Lawyers Working with Indigenous Peoples” a joint project of The Advocates’ Society, the Indigenous Bar Association and the Law Society of Ontario, it is noted that there has been and continues to be a distrust in the Canadian legal system by Indigenous peoples for good reasons: ... [read more]

Friday, June 05, 2020 @ 9:49 AM

SCC poised for first virtual appeal hearing; Zoom ‘observers’ to see novel contract, criminal cases Emily Kirkpatrick

The Supreme Court of Canada is opening its virtual courtroom doors next week by pioneering Zoom hearings in several civil and criminal appeals that raise novel issues of undue trial delay, pre-incorporation contracts in strata developments and entrapment in “dial-a-dope” operations. Up until 1 p.m. (EDT) June 5, the public and media can ask the top court to register them for an unspecified number of “first-come, first-served” Zoom “observer” spots in each of four cases (including one oral leave application), to be argued from June 9 to June 12. ... [read more]

Thursday, June 04, 2020 @ 9:05 AM

Floyd shines light on systemic injustice against racialized, Indigenous people | Angelique EagleWoman

The United States is engulfed in protests because yet another police officer, aided by other officers, has used unlawful lethal force to kill a black man. This time it happened in Minneapolis, but unfortunately it is all too common in North America for black men to be killed by law enforcement. Black lives matter. In the Western Hemisphere, the Atlantic slave trade started as European colonizers decimated the populations of Native peoples. White plantation owners in the aftermath of genocidal policies against native peoples replaced the enslavement of native peoples with the enslavement of people kidnapped from Africa. On stolen native lands, black lives were not honoured or protected.  ... [read more]

Thursday, June 04, 2020 @ 8:49 AM

Access to justice and pixie dust: Civil resolution tribunals | Bo Kruk

COVID-19 has changed the manner in which we transact justice. The courts in Ontario have embraced new technology to allow more cases to proceed at an unprecedented rate. While we have searched for technological answers to our new world order, we need not look too far. British Columbia’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) provides an effective online model that can — and should — be easily transplanted to any other jurisdiction. The CRT offers answers to our technological challenges. ... [read more]

Wednesday, June 03, 2020 @ 9:03 AM

B.C. law society considering ‘targeted’ approach on COVID-19 relief: president Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) president Craig Ferris

The COVID-19 pandemic was top of mind for benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) as they met for their second virtual meeting, with the law society president noting the society is currently looking at spending approximately $3 million to assist members who have been hit hard over the past few months. ... [read more]

Tuesday, June 02, 2020 @ 9:55 AM

Justice and the pandemic: The new gold standard Canada_COVID_sm

This article is the first of a three-part series examining our courts’ response to the pandemic and what it means for the future of the civil justice system. ... [read more]

Monday, June 01, 2020 @ 12:41 PM

Ontario bar task force offers tools, tips, advice for making ‘huge adjustment’ to remote hearings Marie-Andrée Vermette

No plaid. Wear clothes below the waist. Nod, instead of bowing, when the judge enters. These basic pointers are among dozens of helpful tips, and easy-to-follow technical advice, offered by Best Practices for Remote Hearings — a detailed and useful 42-page practical guide that is designed to help lawyers successfully adjust to the new normal of virtual court appearances during the COVID-19 pandemic. ... [read more]

Monday, June 01, 2020 @ 9:12 AM

Basics of good oral advocacy more important in virtual hearings, says Alberta chief justice Catherine_Fraser_sm

In a fireside chat with The Advocates’ Society, Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, of the Alberta Court of Appeal, outlined how the province’s top court was able to move quickly to virtual hearings when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and how the current situation highlights the basics of good advocacy. ... [read more]

Friday, May 29, 2020 @ 1:12 PM

History made in Ontario courts: Nation Rise outcome youtube_court_sm

The first three articles of this five-part series on the history-making April 17 Divisional Court hearing in the Nation Rise Wind Farm Limited Partnership v. Ontario (Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks) 2020 ONSC 2984 judicial review was published in The Lawyer’s Daily recently. ... [read more]