Focus On

Access to Justice


Wednesday, April 08, 2020 @ 8:34 AM

Virtual proceedings are here: Now to do them effectively headphones_computer_sm

The COVID-19 situation is evolving daily. It is clear is that “normal” will not return for some time … if ever. ... [read more]

Tuesday, April 07, 2020 @ 1:12 PM

Exposed: What COVID-19 has taught us | Gary Joseph

The COVID-19 virus is a risk to all but specifically it targets and exposes the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. In the same way the pandemic has exposed our court system for what it is, an “elderly” system developed to service a 1970s population drowning in a media/web savvy 21st century. Our judicial and court leaders are struggling to make it work in an environment where failure is inevitable. The structure of our courts and the supports built around it are paper intensive and people intensive. They cannot adept quickly to the fast-changing environment. This is not a criticism of our judicial leaders but a sad refrain for those who long ignored the need to upgrade technology and facilities. ... [read more]

Tuesday, April 07, 2020 @ 10:55 AM

Exercise good judgment before coming to courts in light of COVID-19, family lawyers say John Syrtash, Garfin Zeidenberg LLP

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the legal system in Ontario on its ear, with lawyers and judges coping to deal with the stresses brought about by social distancing and court closures. This is particularly true of family law, where matters concerning children make concerns even more acute. But an emerging body of jurisprudence, coupled with guidance from the courts, is helping to clear a path through the forest. ... [read more]

Friday, April 03, 2020 @ 1:23 PM

Ontario Superior Court of Justice expands matters heard remotely during COVID-19

On April 2, Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz, of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, issued two notices to the profession regarding criminal, civil and family matters that will be heard by the court during the COVID-19 pandemic. ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 01, 2020 @ 1:02 PM

Integrity commissioner assails jail staff disobedience, racism, poisoning attempts Handsonprisonbars

In March, the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada reported on its investigation into misconduct at Archambault Institution in Quebec. Examining a one-year period in 2017 and 2018, the report found that certain correctional officers engaged in intentional wrongdoing and Correctional Service of Canada grossly mismanaged these systemic workplace problems.  ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 01, 2020 @ 8:34 AM

Pandemic observations from self-isolation | Malcolm Mercer

Late on Friday March 13, Toronto Public Health advised that everyone who had travelled outside of Canada go into self-isolation for 14 days after their return. My wife and I self-isolated having returned from United States six days earlier. As I write, it is now more than two weeks into a new world. Much has changed. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 @ 1:24 PM

Mediation by Zoom addresses social distancing, shuttered courtrooms zoom_meeting_sm

Mediations conducted by videoconference, via online platforms like Zoom, have suddenly become popular in Ontario as a result of social distancing and shuttered courtrooms due to COVID-19. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 @ 9:06 AM

Access to justice and self-representation in class proceedings | Lawrence David

The class action proceeding is a modern procedural vehicle aimed at advancing access to justice. A rule that restricts the availability of class action proceedings to parties represented by counsel undermines this very purpose. Such a procedural bar may also be unconstitutional. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 @ 8:43 AM

Access to Justice: Justice in the time of social distancing | Beverley McLachlin

The COVID-19 virus has changed our world. It is unprecedented, impacting every aspect of our daily lives, keeping us apart from each other and shutting down most of our conventional ways of interacting in society, save for essential services. ... [read more]

Monday, March 30, 2020 @ 1:50 PM

Access to justice means no access to lawyers in small claims division courts_alone_sm

In Respecs inc. v. Marchés Pépin inc. 2020 QCCQ 148, Justice Luc Hervé Thibaudeau zeroed in on pervasive attempts by litigants in small claims division to use lawyers to represent them, despite the clear prohibition against lawyers having such roles. Relying on his and other judges’ interpretation of the Code of Civil Procedure, CQLR c C-25.01 (CCP) provisions adopted for small claims division, he warned that such attempts undermined access to justice initiatives promoted by the legislature. Such attempts upset the balance set for litigants who cannot afford the “luxury” of mandating a lawyer. ... [read more]