Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ontario Attorney General on Major Justice Reforms

In the May 2, 2008 issue of The Lawyers Weekly, Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley provides a number of ideas on how he may proceed with reforms to the province's civil and criminal justice systems.

Last November, former Ontario Associate Chief Justice Coulter Osborne handed in his preliminary report on how to make the province’s civil justice system fairer and more accessible.
Bentley told The Laywyer's Weekly he is working on some of Osborne's recommendations, such as the suggestion to "increase the Small Claims Court’s monetary jurisdiction from $10,000 to $15,000, with a further increase to $25,000 within two years...", and limiting discovery.

He also explained his eagerness to reform the overburdened criminal justice system of the province.

However, the president of the Ontario Bar Association, Greg Goulin, is quoted as saying that the government has not been talking of the one thing both the civil and criminal justice systems badly need: money.

Earlier Library Boy posts about justice reforms include:
  • Review of Ontario Civil Justice System (July 19, 2006): "The Ontario government announced a few weeks ago it is looking into ways to reform the civil justice system of the province to make it more accessible and affordable. Former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario Coulter Osborne has been asked to study a range of issues, including the growing number of unrepresented litigants as well as ways to decrease delays and costs."
  • Canadian Civil Justice Reform Database (August 11, 2007): "The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice at the University of Alberta has created what it calls a knowledgebase of civil justice reforms in Canada: 'The Inventory contains descriptions of reform initiatives from across the country, each described according to a standard format that includes information on the purpose, development, implementation, and evaluation of the reform'."
  • Ontario Civil Justice Reform Project Report Published (November 24, 2007): "Mr. Osborne carried out province-wide consultations, researched civil justice studies and reforms in other jurisdictions, and reviewed over 60 written submissions from legal associations, lawyers, members of the judiciary and the public. The summary report contains 81 recommendations touching on 18 areas of procedural and substantive law, including unrepresented litigants, small claims, trial management, appeals, technology, courtroom civility and proportionality."
  • Ontario Launches Review of Complex Criminal Cases (Febrruary 25, 2008): "Patrick LeSage, former chief justice of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, and Michael Code, a University of Toronto law professor, have been assigned by the Ontario government to lead a review of large and complex criminal case procedures."
  • Government May Consider Radical Reforms To Fix Broken Criminal Trial System (April 8, 2008): "At a recent University of Ottawa conference, University of Toronto law professor Michael Code warned that 'unprofessional conduct' by defence and Crown attorneys in large criminal cases has governments contemplating far-reaching reforms to make the trial process more efficient (...) some of the changes being debated behind the scenes include: '(...) expanding the power of judges to vigorously manage the seemingly endless pretrial motions; restricting the timing, procedure and form of disclosure; expanding legal aid officials’ ability to oversee and restrain the legal aid budgets of long criminal trials, and restructuring the legal aid tariff to economically reward brevity and efficiency and deter inefficiency; and adding jury alternates to ensure that long, arduous trials don’t end in mistrials because jury members have dropped out'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:52 am

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