Courts and Technology

The issue of technology in Canadian Courts is a favoured one at Slaw. Over the past few years there have been developments which hearten those who advocate for the place of technology in Canadian courts. In another positive sign it seems that some advocates in influential positions are making their feelings known. From a recent decision, 2009 CanLII 57448 (ON S.C.), para. 12,

…the time has come to recognize the stark reality that our court, for whatever reason, lags unacceptably behind in the use of electronic communications with our court users. Why this is so remains, for me, a mystery. Law firms, our major users, have embraced electronic media to provide information to potential clients and to service their existing clients. The broad array of technologies they use are described in detail by Richard Susskind in his provocative book, The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services (2008, Oxford University Press). Some provincial tribunals, such as the Ontario Energy Board, offer parties to proceedings before them comprehensive e-filing services. To which one must ask: why not our court too?

And further in para 13,

…in order to provide the users of our court with real access to justice we must make available to them a variety of ways for communicating with the court, including electronic communications. To continue to operate in a “paper world” and to rely on “snail mail”, or old-style faxes, to communicate with those who use our court delays the disposition of proceedings before us, particularly in an area such as applications for certificates of appointment.

It has long been known, that technology will only be embraced by the courts when the technology is embraced by Justices; an opinion such as this is another positive sign that technology is making its’ way into Canadian Courts.

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