Law Reform & Technology

I am taking advantage of the judicial posts to invite, on behalf of the Law Commission of Ontario, project proposals dealing with technology and the law.

Both Justices Turnball’s and Granger’s posts illustrate the advantages of using advanced technology in the courtroom. I am aware about how effectively technology has been used for all judges in the Court of Appeal in Calgary, as another example. I note John Gregory’s comment about the need for a more integrated electronic system as part of my inquiry.

I raise the following questions purely for consideration and by no means to suggest they exhaust the subject:
* is it time for development of a comprehensive approach towards the use of technology in the courtroom?
* are there particular aspects of the dispute resolution process that could benefit from a systematically developed approach using advanced technology?
* Does there need to be a principled way to use technology for those who have easy access and capacity while providing for more traditional methods of using the legal system for those who may have neither?

Anyone interested in making a proposal can check the LCO website. Or let’s talk about it.


  1. Justice B.T.Granger

    As a member of the Judicial Advisory Committee on the Integrated Justice Initiative and having tried a lengthy action in an electronic environment the comments and suggestions and observations of Ms. Hughes are extremely timely. One of the reasons the Integrated Justice Initiative failed was it attempted to introduce into the Justice system a very cutting edge concept which in the end frightened many potential users. In addition the proposed solutions were based on using electronic technology to carry out the traditional procedures that had been used in the justice system for decades. After presiding over a trial conducted in an electronic environment I have become convinced that if technology is to be used in our courtroom the technology should be as simple as possible and we should be willing to change our time honoured traditions to take advantage of new technology. If we cling to our traditonal courtroom rules and attempt to design the technology to fit our existing practices we will not take full advantage of the new technology and the cost of litigation will continue to be beyond the reach of almost all citizens.
    We need someone or a group of lawyers, judges and academics to design a new electronic protocol for the trial of actions without regard to existing rules which are not designed for electronic technology.
    Justice B.T. Granger