Ontario Investigating Ways to Improve Significant Court Backlogs By Adopting Technology
November 05, 2020, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
The Ontario court system faces incredible backlogs in part due to COVID-19 but also in great part due to their failure to adopt new technology over the last decades. Until recently, many documents needed to be handed in in person, to be provided in paper copy, or be attended in person in courts before a judge. Email, video conferences and other technologies simply weren't allowed. A significant amount of time, resources on the part of attorneys, defendants and witnesses, court staff, police and taxpayer money, was lost to this failure.
While COVID-19 has caused the glacial change of pace in the courts to hasten a bit, there are even larger backlogs now due to other restrictions. Ithas become so bad that the Province of Ontario directed police not to charge impaired drivers unless a greater or significant crime was associated with the offense.
The Law Times has published a great article on the actions now being taken by Ontario to try to reduce the backlogs. Have a read and let us know in the comments what your thoughts are.
Ontario aims to reduce courthouse visits by harnessing technology - BY Bernise Carolino 28 Sep 2020
Ontario is investing in technology for its courts to deliver more services online and to conduct more remote proceedings.
The province intends for these technological investments to reduce the need for in-person courthouse visits and to make accessing the justice system safer, easier, faster, more responsive and more affordable amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“Throughout the COVID-19 emergency and recovery, we have worked with our partners to move Ontario’s justice system forward by decades in a matter of months through game-changing modernization initiatives,” said Attorney General Doug Downey in a news release.
These technological investments and innovations include the following:
- the expansion of the Justice Services Online platform, which allows parties and their counsel to electronically file over 400 kinds of civil and family court documents
- CaseLines, a cloud-based document sharing and e-hearing platform through which parties and their counsel can share filed court documents of any size and file format before and during the hearing, and which is presently being piloted for certain civil matters in Toronto
- the court case lookup online tool, which makes it easier for individuals to search for information on cases
- the modernization of the Provincial Offences Act, through enabling people to remotely dispute traffic tickets and other provincial offences via audio or video, where available
- the online jury pre-screening and check-in tool, which will enable potential jurors to avoid spending more time in the courthouse prior to jury selection
- the Zoom platform’s audio conference and videoconference functions, which are utilized for certain remote proceedings before the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice, such as through virtual criminal case management courts
Other planned initiatives include the digitization of the provincial criminal justice system and the adoption of electronic filing for probate court documents, which will potentially speed up the processing for certain estate applications and which will reduce the necessity for in-house courthouse visits and the time and expenses needed for filing documents via regular mail.
“Building a more accessible, responsive and resilient justice system is another example of how the province is harnessing technology and innovation to deliver a government that works better for the people of Ontario,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, treasury board president, in the news release.
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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.
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