Thursday, September 05, 2013

Recent Publications From the Canadian Judicial Council on Court Management

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications refers to a number of publications from the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) relating to court management and the management of case information.

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

The CJC publications include papers on systems to manage digital court documents, the determination of costs in civil litigation involving digital information and e-discovery, as well as a comparative analysis of court administrative systems in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland:
  • Court Information Management: "Traditionally, courts have relied on the availability of filed documents – both paper based or electronic – as a means to move the work of the Court forward. Recent technological advancements have dramatically improved the way documents are captured, stored, shared and retrieved electronically. Managing this information and making full use of digital technology has been a challenge for all institutions, including the courts. The possibility of having instant access to digitized documents from virtually anywhere presents enormous benefits; however, there are also risks in allowing unfettered access to court documents. Some information is sensitive and the impact of its release needs to be carefully weighed in the context of ensuring a fair trial and protecting vulnerable individuals. Courts also have a duty to protect the integrity of all information that are part of legal proceedings. As expectations grow that courts will foster ongoing transparency through the use of modern information technology, courts must seize the opportunities to streamline their policies and governance in this regard. By setting definitions, architectural principles and information management policies, courts may approach this evolving issue with confidence. This discussion paper proposes a framework for individual courts to consider when moving towards the development of their respective Information Management policies."
  • Guidelines on Benchmarking of Costs: "As reliance on digital documents increases, efforts must be made to ensure that all parties have equal access to affordable technologies. The proposed benchmarks and standards in this document are intended to assist in setting the costs that may be reasonably incurred in civil litigation matters where digital information is filed. In those circumstances where law firms may need to rely on commercial services, costs could include the retaining of external technical consultants. Such an expense would be protected if deemed necessary within published guidelines. Where a law firm has in-house equipment and staff to assist with e-discovery, they may be able to get some reimbursement for their client if they win a matter which had clear guidelines for the reasonableness of such costs incurred. By offering a predictive costing model, this document is intended to level the playing field among parties and to provide the court, law firms and their clients with a common understanding of these issues. These Guidelines are comprehensive and include services that may not always be required. In fact, the cost model spreadsheet provides an overview of all possible services on a complex case. These guidelines have been prepared by the Canadian Judicial Council to assist courts. Judges retain discretion in making any cost orders in a particular matter. Use of these guidelines should assist both lawyers and judges in considering e-discovery as an affordable tool, particularly when pursued in proportion to the scope of the litigation."
  • Comparative Analysis of Key Characteristics of Court Administration Systems: "In 2006, the Canadian Judicial Council published a report entitled Alternative Models of Court Administration. In exploring the trend towards governments granting greater administrative autonomy to the courts, the report offered seven different models present in a number of jurisdictions. In 2011 the Administration of Justice Committee of Council commissioned a research study which would present a comparison of key characteristics of court administrative systems against those models in common law countries including Australia, England and Wales, New Zealand, North Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland. Key to this comparative analysis was the collection of legislation, memoranda of understanding and other forms of written agreements between the Judiciary and the Executive. They outline which level of government is responsible for certain or all aspects of court administration. The report consists of two documents. Presented here is the first part, namely, a comparative analysis building on the seven models presented in the 2006 report and further analysing how each of the selected jurisdictions advances their work according to six specific characteristics of court administration. Further below is the second part, namely, a report presented in a chart or table format which gives an overview of the analysis’ content and provides for an easy comparison of the systems in place within the respective jurisdictions."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:22 pm


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