Ontario Courts Will Re-Open Having Undergone Long Overdue Changes

June 03, 2020, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

People on a Video CallWhen Ontario courts re-open (currently projected for next month) there will be considerable changes to the way business is done. According to Attorney General Downey the courts system has advanced “25 years in 25 days’ as a result of COVID-19.

The days of paper, fax machines, in person proceedings, old or no technology will be gone. Instead video conferences, video testimony, electronic filing and new tech in courtrooms will become the new normal. Even the Supreme Court of Canada will be hearing arguments via Zoom, and they will be broadcast to the public.

The courts stress technology will become crucial and normal. It should also help to tackle the enormous backlog of cases exacerbated by the COVID lockdown.

The legal profession and courts systems have been stuck in the business model of the last century seemingly unable until three months ago to modernize. The old system was recognized by all to be outdated, inefficient and expensive to administer. Lawyers who in the past were required to ‘lose’ significant time to travel in order to submit documents in person or to attend pretrial meetings  each day can now conference via technology and accomplish far more. Costs for the courts, the lawyers, the victims and the taxpayers will drop significantly. Efficiency and security will still be maintained.

It’s anticipated that complex matters, hearings dealing with serious crimes, and hearings in which witnesses are cross examined will continue to be heard in person.

The pandemic has caused the system to examine itself and how business is conducted. The province secured laptops, established a VPN for the courts, and has announced $1.3 million for tech to help the courts transition to operating remotely. More funding will be required to make the changes permanent.

These changes align with the criticisms in the past of the province’s auditor general who has repeatedly highlighted the outdated systems, and technology used in Ontario courts as a waste of money and causing significant inefficiency in the system.

These are welcome changes to the system, and with hope will shorten significantly the time it takes to have lawsuits, arbitrations and hearings to occur. Currently there are backlogs years long for settlement of lawsuits due in large part to systemic delays.

Posted under Accident Benefit News

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

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