Focus On

Access to Justice


Friday, October 16, 2020 @ 2:28 PM

Closure of Milton courthouse due to mould will have ‘serious impact,’ says local law association head Ken Kelertas sm

Milton’s beleaguered courthouse was surviving the pandemic. It couldn’t survive mould. In an Oct. 15 notice, the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) and the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) announced the immediate suspension of all in-person proceedings due to a recurrence of mould, which has been a longstanding problem in the building. ... [read more]

Friday, October 16, 2020 @ 9:47 AM

Legal aid agreement reached with Quebec government Mylene_Lemieux

After three years of negotiations, the Quebec government and the provincial bar association reached an agreement to raise legal fees and to establish an independent working group that will conduct an exhaustive review of the tariff structure. The agreement, widely perceived to be a “step in the right direction” by the Quebec legal community, calls for a five per cent retroactive increase in legal aid fees for the period of October 2017 to May 2019, and a 14.7 per cent increase in fees from June 2019 to September 2022. ... [read more]

Friday, October 16, 2020 @ 9:21 AM

Jessop file: It is never too late to correct a wrong | Bhavan Sodhi

Two hundred and 10 years is a long time. Comparatively, 210 years ago was 57 years before the confederation of what is now Canada; it was more than a century before both world wars; 172 years before the introduction of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and it is a duration spanning over 28 different Canadian prime ministers. Two hundred and 10 is also the total number of years that 23 Canadians have collectively spent in prison for crimes they did not commit. ... [read more]

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 @ 3:37 PM

Ontario Superior Court temporarily suspends jury selection in Toronto, Ottawa and Brampton Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz sm

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has announced that new jury selection is suspended for the next 28 days in Toronto, Brampton and Ottawa to align with the province’s return to “modified” stage 2 COVID-19 restrictions in those regions. ... [read more]

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 @ 2:57 PM

Judicial perspectives on self-represented litigants in family courts Family law book with glasses

The growing numbers of self-represented family litigants is a major concern. As part of an ongoing study about the use of limited scope retainers, we surveyed 57 Ontario judges to learn about their views and experiences with the self-represented family litigants. ... [read more]

Wednesday, October 07, 2020 @ 8:45 AM

COVID, opportunity and future of family law | Gary Joseph

I have been fortunate to professionally grow up in an era of family law giants. I have negotiated with and against, litigated with and against and learned from the likes of Malcolm Kronby, Alan Poole, Harold Berry, Phil Epstein and many other of the now gone greats. I have spent years attending courts run by Justices Abraham Lieff, George Walsh and Gertrude Speigel, three jurists who stood family law on its head and turned the approach to it 180 degrees. Finally, I have had the privilege of being mentored by one of the great teachers and gentleman of the bar, the late James C. MacDonald. ... [read more]

Tuesday, October 06, 2020 @ 12:21 PM

Techniques for making video trials fair videotrial1.jpg

As we enter the second wave in Ontario it is clear that COVID-19 has completely disrupted the way we administer criminal justice. The courts have been forced to embrace video technologies that have, quite embarrassingly, been used in other professions for decades. ... [read more]

Tuesday, October 06, 2020 @ 9:20 AM

Summary judgment post COVID-19: Movement toward increased access to justice? Courthouse

COVID-19 is changing the world as we know it, particularly when it comes to the administration of justice. The courts have recognized both the need to bring the Ontario judiciary into the virtual world and the benefits that could be derived from same (which are already evident), including more timely and cost effective access to justice. ... [read more]

Monday, October 05, 2020 @ 3:22 PM

‘What do you mean I can’t get transcripts?’ cassette

Imagine you have just completed a 14-day trial by Zoom on behalf of your client. You did a bang-up job of presenting your case and an even better job of exposing the flaws in opposing counsel’s evidence. Nonetheless, the judge ruled against you. Never mind, that’s what appeals are for. Right? ... [read more]

Monday, October 05, 2020 @ 2:50 PM

Unbundled legal services for family cases in Ontario 2 people meeting

There is growing concern about the increase in self-representation in family proceedings and the resulting challenges faced by courts and litigants. One response is to facilitate use by self-represented litigants of unbundled legal services, so they can purchase a limited amount of advice, or focused representation, at a much lower cost than full representation. ... [read more]