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Access to Justice


Wednesday, May 27, 2020 @ 12:10 PM - Last Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 @ 12:30 PM

Post-pandemic austerity will require Ontario’s judicial system ‘to work smarter’: chief justice Ontario Chief Justice George Strathy

Ontario’s justice system will face a challenging period of austerity following the COVID-19 pandemic that will demand a new examination of efficiencies that goes beyond technology alone, Ontario Chief Justice George Strathy recently predicted. ... [read more]

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 @ 9:15 AM

Financial impact of COVID-19 on lawyers, paralegals key issue in LSO treasurer campaign Teresa Donnelly (left) and Philip Horgan (right)

Candidates in the Law Society of Ontario’s (LSO) treasurer election are advancing campaigns that highlight financial responsibility and governance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the virus on the membership, and the justice system as a whole, cannot be ignored, so how to move the law society forward at this time is top of mind for both candidates.   ... [read more]

Friday, May 22, 2020 @ 1:24 PM

Virtual mediation: Temporary or here to stay? | Stuart Rudner

While the technology has been around for a while, the need for virtual mediation was never as great as it is now. Previously, most litigators scoffed at the notion that a virtual mediation would be a worthwhile endeavour, but at the moment it is the only option and, more importantly, it has proven to be extremely effective. So, is virtual mediation just a temporary solution during these unprecedented times, or a viable alternative to the traditional in-person format? ... [read more]

Friday, May 22, 2020 @ 12:41 PM

Court tech lessons from those who’ve been conducting remote trials for years | Naomi Sayers

Circuit courts are the norm in northern or rural regions across Canada. These courts travel to different regions where there is no local courthouse. I was first introduced to circuit courts when I lived and worked in Northern Alberta, working with Indigenous youth. ... [read more]

Thursday, May 21, 2020 @ 3:12 PM

Post-COVID courts could see less oral advocacy, more paper-based and remote adjudication: SCC’s Wagner Chief Justice Richard Wagner

Canada’s top judge says the demands of a post-pandemic world will require an openness to innovation and the creation of a “new normal” in the justice system — one which could feature fewer opportunities for oral advocacy by lawyers, particularly in physical courtrooms and appellate courts; more frequent remote hearings and paper-based adjudication; and even the reduction or elimination of the civil jury trial in those provinces where it still exists. ... [read more]

Thursday, May 21, 2020 @ 12:50 PM

Improving access to justice in defamation | Hilary Young

In a recent article in The Lawyer’s Daily, Bruce McDougall suggests that defamation litigation is a playground for the rich (“Sticks and Stones | Bruce McDougall,” May 11). McDougall is right, of course; civil litigation is largely beyond the reach of the non-rich. The more interesting question is what can be done about it. ... [read more]

Thursday, May 21, 2020 @ 9:53 AM

Lawyers express frustration over cancellation of new courthouse for Halton Region Ken Kelertas

There have been days at the antiquated courthouse in Milton, Ont., when judges were forced to temporarily close courtrooms because too much debris was falling from the ceiling. So lawyers in surrounding Halton Region, just west of Toronto, are disappointed by the Ontario government’s decision to cancel a proposed, state-of-the-art courthouse in Oakville that was slated to serve one of Canada’s fastest growing areas. ... [read more]

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 @ 2:18 PM

Queen’s Law co-develops online legal tool for unemployed workers, employers

The Queen’s University Faculty of Law and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s have launched a free, online legal tool that could help some of the millions of Canadians who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. ... [read more]

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 @ 9:14 AM

Alberta Law Society sees articling, lawyer cash flow as major challenges during pandemic: president Alberta law society president Kent Teskey

The Alberta Law Society has added its name to the organizations that have moved to hold their formal meetings using videoconferencing technology in light of the challenges poised by COVID-19. The law society’s most recent board meeting, which was held May 14, was done through the Zoom platform. Law society president Kent Teskey said the process was “surprisingly functional.” ... [read more]

Thursday, May 14, 2020 @ 2:17 PM

Eagles’ eye view of self-representation in family court | Stéphanie Plante

As Mother’s Day 2020 came and went, I realized for the first time in three years that due to court closures I didn’t spend the weekend drafting, researching or working on my family law file. What is normally a precious day for mothers to be pampered and get breakfast in bed has been for the last three years a day for fretting about court forms, affidavit wording and searching case law. ... [read more]