Be the Change


It may be 2016 but lawyers still fax like its 1989. This is pathetic, and it’s time that we embrace technological change. Every other industry has moved on, and so should we.

In Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General is trying to implement change. On their website, they state that:

[W]e are implementing a comprehensive strategy to build Better Justice Together by:

  • making sure court processes are faster and the justice system is easier to navigate

  • building an integrated system that allows justice partners and participants to better share and access the information they need…

While we wait for “faster justice”, we need to start implementing change from within. For example, electronic filing is necessary. However, to date, Ontario lags behind and still requires almost everything to be filed with the courts in person. For many reasons, this is unacceptable. It discriminates against people with disabilities (by creating more barriers); it increases costs (by forcing people to take time out of their day or pay someone); and it hinders the development of an electronic document system.

One way we can begin to “be the change” and develop an electronic document system is by filing a USB key with our court documents for all opposed motions. Perhaps with time, this step will help us normalize electronic documents from within the court system.

What do you think? How should we “be the change” and force new behaviour from within the legal system?



  1. “lags behind” whom, in e-filing? Which Canadian court systems have general e-filing? How do they handle authentication, security and privacy?

    It’s not as if it’s easy – Ontario has worked on a number of systems since the late 90s, but none has worked on a system-wide basis.

    As for faxes: really? How many law offices rely on faxes these days, rather than PDFs by email? I recognize there is still some outmoded thinking about e-signatures (as if faxes weren’t essentially electronic documents themselves, except easier to fake than PDFs), but for general legal communications, where is the evidence?