No Rush to “technology”

I teach a Directed Readings in Law Reform course at Osgoode Hall Law School. The assignment (not my creation, but used the first year the course was taught and I thought it a good idea) is to develop a law reform proposal, ostensibly to the Law Commission of Ontario. Thus the students are to use the LCO’s mandate and take into account its values and principles and approaches to the analysis of law reform projects. Although the LCO’s mandate explicitly includes the consideration of technology to increase access to justice, none of the students — who are “regular” age law students — have proposed a “technology” project per se.

Only one student referred to “technology” at all and that, keeping in mind John G’s post on whether a law on cyberbullying is needed, was in a paper on whether there should be an explicit law against workplace bullying; the student pointed to cyberbullying in the workplace as something to be addressed in the LCO’s study.

The other proposals are all good proposals, topics worth addressing, but none of the students advanced a proposal about how access to justice can be increased through technology or, more specifically, how new technologies can be used to make law more effective, relevant or accessible or to clarify or simplify the law. Perhaps this is because our course was more or less devoid of any serious discussion about technology (or of any frivolous discussion for that matter), or because none of the LCO’s current projects or reports say much about the use of technology; even so, I only now belatedly realize that this just wasn’t at the forefront of these young people’s thinking about improving the law. And that surprises me.


  1. Justice B.T.Granger

    During August 2008 I delivered a lecture on Technology and Access to Justice at the Canadian Bar Conference in Quebec City. I would be happy to share the PowerPoint presentation with anyone who would be interested. The premise of my presentation was that technology can reduce legal fees and thereby improve access to justice.

  2. Love to get a copy of your power point presentation.
    Thanks for the offer.

  3. I would like to see motions on consent dealt with by an electronic system.

    Have an online database of court files, accessible to the lawyers on both sides through the use of some high security password.

    The lawyers could file a notice of motion, serve it electronically on the other side, and await consent. If consent is granted, the lawyers don’t need to show up barring any concerns by the reviewing judge.

    If no consent is obtained, the motion proceeds as normal.

    In the criminal law sphere, I think appearance court should be entirely electronic. 99% of the time when people show up in appearance court, they are simply asking for an adjournment. If both the Crown and defence consent, the adjournment is granted 99% of the time.

    It is such a waste of time to have both sides show up and wait around all day before their matter is heard.