Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Report Proposes Changes to Federal Court Rules

A committee representing the judiciary, court personnel and lawyers in private and government practice is proposing changes to the rules of the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal [press release] to make things easier for self-represented litigants:
"The  study  proposes  new  tools  to  address  abusive,  inappropriate,  disproportionate  and wasteful litigation conduct. It also identifies a number of steps – many novel – to improve access to the Federal Courts, particularly by self-represented parties. "

"The  study  is  the  product  of  a  comprehensive  policy  review  of  the  practices  and procedures  of  the  Federal  Courts.  A  national  subcommittee  chaired  by  Justice  David Stratas  and  comprised  of  thirteen  judges,  prothonotaries,  lawyers  and  court  personnel conducted the policy review. " (...)

"Overall,  the  subcommittee  found  that, by and  large,  the practices and procedures of  the Federal  Courts  work  well.  However,  it  urged  that  certain  reforms  be  made  to  meet contemporary needs and circumstances."

"Under  the  proposals,  the  vast  majority  of  litigants  –  those  who  conduct  their  cases reasonably – will see  little change. But  those  few who engage  in abusive,  inappropriate and disproportionate litigation conduct may find themselves on the receiving end of stiff new measures. The study decries the costs they impose on other litigants and the Federal Courts system. "

"Noting the rising tide of litigation conducted by self-represented parties, the study urges a top-to-bottom examination of the rules to make them more understandable and accessible and offers tangible ideas for the aggressive use of web technologies to make self-help by lay-litigants  a  reality.  It  also  recommends  judicial  education  on  the  creative  but acceptable ways in which the rules can be used to further access to justice."
The full text of the report is available on the website of the Courts Administration Service. 

More background from the Ottawa Citizen ("Federal Courts eyeing plain-language Internet help for self-represented litigants", November 12, 2012)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:05 pm


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