Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ontario Civil Justice Reform Project Report Published

On thursday, the Ontario provincial government released the Civil Justice Reform Project: Summary of Findings and Recommendations.

In June 2006, the government had asked the Honourable Coulter Osborne, a former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario, to propose recommendations to make the province's civil justice system more accessible and affordable.

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.

More background:

  • Report calls for expansion of small claims court system (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, November 22, 2007): "An expansion of Ontario's small claims court system is among more than 80 recommendations released by the province Thursday to reform the civil justice system and resolve disputes more quickly, and cheaply."
  • Justice for all: A blueprint - Landmark report calls for swift action to make Ontario's civil courts more accessible, more affordable – and faster (Toronto Star, November 23, 2007): "With civil litigation so time-consuming and costly that many are representing themselves in court, a new report is calling for sweeping changes to make Ontario's justice system more affordable and easier to use (...) As part of a Toronto Star series of 'Access to Justice' stories published earlier this year, the cost of a three-day civil trial was determined to be $60,738 – more than a year's income for most households. But pursuing justice in the civil court system often takes longer and can easily grow more expensive. For example, KathrineFarris, a Toronto real estate consultant who is suing for wrongful dismissal, spent $197,443 in lawyers' fees. With another $219,658 still owing to her lawyer, she began representing herself earlier this year. Farris commended Osborne on the depth of his report and said she hopes Attorney-General Chris Bentley won't 'sweep it under the carpet'."
  • BC proposed civil procedure rules released (Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, August 20, 2007): "The Civil Justice Working Group of the BC Justice Review Task Force has released their Proposed New Rules of Civil Procedure. The draft Rules represent a major overhaul of the BC Supreme Court Rules of Civil Procedure with the objective of making civil procedure more proportional to the issues in dispute."
  • Canadian Civil Justice Reform Database (Library Boy, 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. The initial focus of our research over the summer of 2007 is selected issues relating to the cost of access to justice: point-of-entry assistance, caseflow management, expert evidence, discovery, and proportionality'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:25 pm


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