On the 22nd of October 2002 the evidentiary phase of GasTOPS v. MxI commenced in a regular courtroom in Ottawa Ontario. On March 23, 2006 after approximately 300 days of hearing and after approximately 2800 exhibits (70,000 pages) were entered into the record I reserved my decision. Over the next 20 months counsel submitted their written submissions (3500 pages). On September 25, 2009 I released my Reasons for judgment wherein I granted the plaintiff judgment against the defendants in the amount of approximately $11.1 million dollars.
The trial was conducted in a paperless environment and the trial record consists of electronic exhibits saved on an external hard drive lodged with the Registrar. During 2003 I authored a paper entitled “Using Summation iBlaze in the Courtroom – Better Lawyer, Better Judge, Better Justice – The Need for Judicial Leadership”[PDF]. The paper reflected my impressions part way through the trial of using electronic exhibits and creating an electronic record.
At the end of the trial and judgment my initial impressions of the value of electronic technology in the litigation process were confirmed in my mind. Over the next few months I propose to write a few entries dealing with the use of electronic technology in the litigation process and with Simon’s permission have them appear on Slaw, with the hope that such posts will spark a full discussion between the judiciary, the legal profession, academics and law students on the value and use of electronic technology in the judicial system. Such discussions will help me as a member of the judiciary and other judges consider if electronic technology can increase access to justice by reducing legal fees.
I am sure that Simon would be grateful to receive comments and other material from the judiciary and legal profession and any other interested persons on this subject which would greatly add to the discussion and assist in the determination of whether electronic technology can be a benefit to the judicial system.
I intend to write entries on:
- Access to Justice and electronic technology
- Advocacy and electronic technology
- Justice and electronic technology
- Establishing an electronic courtroom without going bankrupt
- Why most counsel and the majority of the judiciary resist the use of electronic technology to the exclusion of paper
- Persuading the trial judge to judge in an electronic environment
I personally believe that the use of electronic technology will reduce legal fees and result in better lawyers, better judges and better justice.
Justice B.T. Granger