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Technology Inventory

Year Title Jurisdiction Body Responsible Court Criteria and Methods of Evaluation Description Description of Reforms Development Links to Publications Publications Purpose Related Reforms Results Status Subjects Timeline
2001 Prince Edward Island Task Force on Access to Justice

Prince Edward Island

  • Prince Edward Island Courts
  • Office of the Attorney General

Joint task force formed to review access to justice and identify problems with the existing system in an effort to improve access to justice, reduce cost of litigation, simplify practice and procedures, and improve technology.

The task force concentrated mainly on

  • Self-Represented Litigants
  • Technology
  • Court Process
  • Legal Aid

Some limited action was taken based on the findings and recommendations of the Task Force. It included changes to Small Claims, Family Law Legal Aid, and Family Law Centre and those based on the recommendations dealing with administrative issues and the Rules of Court.

 

The Task Force on Access to Justice was established in 2001 by the Honourable Gerard E. Mitchell, the Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island, in cooperation with the Office of the Attorney General, the Law Society and the PEI Branch of the Canadian Bar Association.

The Final Report was released in October of 2002 outlining findings and several recommendations. Following the Final Report's release, an Implementation Steering Committee was established to help move these recommendations forward. Due to government cutbacks, the Committee was disbanded in December 2004. However, the recommendations and discussions contained in the Final Report are still considered relevant and useful for PEI's Courts (Study of SRL at 8).

 

 

The task force was mandated "to review access to justice, broadly interpreted, and identify problems with the existing system in an effort to improve access to justice, reduce cost of litigation, simplify practice and procedures, and improve technology" (Final Report at 1-2).

  • access to justice
  • cost of justice
  • Prince Edward Island Courts
  • Prince Edward Island Office of the Attorney General
  • proposed reforms
  • simplification of process
  • technology
2001 Task Force on Access to Justice established
October 2002 Task Force on Access to Justice Final Report released
2004 BC Court of Appeal Case Tracking and Management System (WebCATS)

British Columbia

British Columbia Court of Appeal

British Columbia Court of Appeal

BC Court of Appeal's on-line case-tracking and case-management system

WebCATS is a standard case-tracking system with screens for initiating information, (case profile), party information, filings, court and chambers appearances. In addition, there is a rota, or sitting schedule, which is prepared using an inexpensive tool called SmartRoster (which was designed as a scheduling tool for volunteers with church and community organizations). Both schedulers for court and chambers each have their own scheduling module.
 

A. Rota

There are 23 judges in the Court of Appeal -- 15 full-time judges and eight part-time (supernumerary) judges... [R]egular judges sit about 20 weeks out of the year and supernumerary judges sit 10 weeks a year. There are vacations in the summer, at Christmas, and one week around Easter. Once the calendar for the sitting year is determined, the judges are rotated into their sitting weeks. Based on the number of judges available, the number of full divisions (three judges) and chambers (one judge) is determined. The names of the judges are entered into WebCATS and this rota becomes the basis for several other features, including the scheduling and appearance screens.

Reports can be created, based on a sitting day or week. The staff use these reports to prepare the material that has to be circulated to the judges 2-3 weeks in advance of the hearings.

Judges use WebCATS to check their schedules and to see which cases they are assigned to. Their access also allows them to review individual files before the hearing.
 

B. Scheduling

There is also a scheduling function in WebCATS. The judicial scheduler can enter the system and search for available time for court or chambers. When deciding to schedule a matter, the scheduler can then click and view the time allotted for each case (the Court of Appeal schedules court hearings for a fixed time period; i.e. two hours or four hours). There is some room for overbooking, but generally the four-hour court day is scheduled for four full hours of hearings.
 

C. Electronic Documents and Statistics

In future, it is anticipated that all necessary documents, including all reserve and oral judgments on a file, will also be part of the WebCATS system. With this achievement, judges would no longer need paper documents in order to review files.

In addition to reports for the court lists, WebCATS also has a statistical component, which is reviewed monthly so that progress can be monitored on the completion of cases. An Excel spreadsheet provides year-to-date information as well as a comparison with the previous year's information for the same period.

Any delay statistics are calculated using an Access database. Yearly delay statistics are tabulated and collected by the Canadian Judicial Council's Appeal Courts Committee. Ad hoc reporting can be done for specific projects -- for instance, the number of self-represented litigants is increasing, so to assist with the processing of these cases, it is possible to sort them by type (i.e. family or criminal cases) and to assign appropriate time to hear these appeals.
 

D. Create Documents

WebCATS also has a feature which allows a user to create a document and then store it as a filing. For instance, there are certain documents which are sent out with every new filing. There is a letter to the lower court judge indicating that an appeal has been filed. It is simple to go into the "create document" list, select the document and enter the file number. The template for the letter comes up, with the standard information pre-filling the form, and the user enters any other relevant information. Bail documents are created this way. They are then stored in WebCATS and available for review through the filings screen in WebCATS.

Administrative and IT Environment at 8-9

Digital Audio Recording System (DARS)

A Digital Audio Recording System (DARS) was introduced into British Columbia in 2006. Digital recording captures the courtroom audio on a computer hard drive, thus eliminating the need for physical storage (such as audiotapes) and relying instead on memory capacity on servers. Requests for the audio from a specific proceeding can be burned to a CD easily...

To access the audio, a judge goes to a special screen in SCSS and requests a transfer of the digital audio to the individual computer. Once the judge clicks a time stamp in the court clerk's notes, the digital recording player opens and the judge just has to click playback and the audio will start to run at the exact place in the audio where requested. Judges find this extremely useful as a means of confirming testimony when writing judgments...

In addition to the recording function of DARS, court clerks could synchronize their notes (called minute sheets) with the recording, by using WebCATS as the vehicle for taking and storing the minute sheets: noting the progress of the hearing such as indicating the names of the speakers, when the court breaks for lunch, and any orders or directions given by the Court. The minute sheets are included in every paper court file as a record of the proceedings; they are now also stored in WebCATS, separately for each hearing.

Once the infrastructure was designed, enhancements were made to WebCATS to allow the clerk's minute sheet to form part of the court hearing screen. It works by letting the clerk open the minute sheet designated for the scheduled court or chambers hearing through WebCATS...

Once the recording begins, hitting "enter" places a time stamp (linked to the audio) in the minute sheet and the court clerk continues making notes. Only milestone points in the submissions are noted, such as to identify changes in speaker or when breaks are taken. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court clerk then has notes that can be edited accurately and record the time elapsed for the hearing.

The digital recording product used is called "For the Record" (FTR). The player looks like a tape deck, with buttons for "play," "fast forward" and "stop". To open the audio, any user (such as a judge or judicial assistant), opens the relevant minute sheet from WebCATS and clicks any of the time stamps. This starts the player, which pops up on the screen.

If judgment is reserved, the judge can access the audio recording through his or her office computer. The judgment transcriber can also access the audio for the purpose of preparing any oral judgments. The court clerk can access the audio to confirm orders made at the hearing. If a party wants a transcript of the proceedings, outside transcribers will produce a transcript of the proceedings from a CD issued by registry staff.

Administrative and IT Environment at 10-12

Future Developments

Recent years have produced a good working relationship between the judiciary and Court Services. The Court of Appeal has created its own infrastructure and has very little need to ask Court Services for support. However, one area where this is changing is e-filing; the Court of Appeal has been left behind on this project because it was a Court Services project implemented to streamline the processing of documents in the province's largest courts (the Supreme Court and Provincial Court). The separate infrastructure of the Court of Appeal technical environment and, again, the small size of the Court have hampered its participation in e-filing.

However, early on in the Court Services Online project, the Court of Appeal was added to the internet portal. WebCATS proved a beneficial product for online access and has been able to provide both civil and criminal information online. With the online presence, WebCATS provides an opportunity to easily incorporate e-filing.

Plans are underway to add the Court of Appeal to the e-filing project. Once this Court is part of the e-filing infrastructure, documents already collected will be stored in WebCATS. With the addition of a scanning project, most of the documentation collected by the Court of Appeal can be stored in electronic form. This should reduce the flow of paper in the Court of Appeal, but it will not eliminate it; some judges still want to read a paper document and do not want to read from a computer screen.

WebCATS, a web-based case-tracking and case-management system, was implemented at the Court of Appeal in 2004. It replaced the previously existing DOS-based system, CATS (Court of Appeal Tracking System), which had been used for 20 years for scheduling, rota, and case-tracking functions.

To modernize systems and take advantage of technology to ensure that the Court is responsive to the needs of litigants.

Permanent implementation

  • British Columbia Court of Appeal
  • information and communication technologies
  • litigation management
2004 WebCATS launched
2006 Digital Audio Recording System (DARS) added to WebCATS
2004 BC Supreme Court Scheduling System (SCSS)

British Columbia

BC Supreme Court

Electronic system for streamlining the assignment of judges and masters and scheduling of matters before the BC Supreme Court.

In 2004, the Supreme Court Scheduling System (SCSS) was developed. It is a complex system used by the manager and trial coordinators throughout the province to organize a myriad of proceedings. It is also used by judges to keep track of where they are sitting, the cases they are sitting on, and where their travel will take them. The judicial assistants have access to the system as well and are able to plan for their judges' travel as well as easily locate a judge who is on circuit...

This sophisticated program uses colour-coding to differentiate between types of hearings as well as the availability of judges. For instance, green on the scheduling calendar indicates the judge is available in that location, yellow indicates the judge is assigned, and red indicates the judge is seized of a case. In addition, the day is divided into three scheduling options: 1) before court; 2) scheduled court sitting (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.); or 3) after court. All three periods are colour coded with green (available), yellow (assigned), and red (seized).

Colours can also refer to the type of matter scheduled. Green is for criminal matters, pink refers to civil matters, and blue refers to family matters. The schedule can indicate if the judge is scheduled to sit in two different locations on the same day, which sometimes takes place through telephone or video link. Any case information in bold indicates a priority scheduling. Shades of light and dark colours indicate whether a matter is confirmed or is tentatively scheduled.

Judges can check their schedules by either parameter - date range or location. While scheduling of cases is done approximately one week before the hearing, other matters such as previously scheduled continuations and seized matters will appear earlier. Judges are able to print reports of their sitting schedules and locations for any time period.

Administrative and IT Environment at 7, 9-10
OpenRoad [the creator of SCSS] worked closely with users to identify their needs, and create a system that closely matched the existing workflow of the Supreme Court. Close attention was paid to creating visual representations of the underlying data, to provide at-a-glance views of the current hearing workload, as well as intelligent searching mechanisms to suggest the best possible dates for new hearings.

Trial Co-ordinators now have instant access to information about all hearings currently in progress within B.C. Judges and their assistants can quickly see the cases to which they are assigned. SCSS has greatly improved the way in which cases are scheduled within the province.

The Supreme Court Scheduling System (SCSS) was launched in July 2004 in order to streamline the assignment of judges and masters and scheduling of matters before the Court. Between 2004 and 2006, SCSS was implemented in all 29 locations where the Court sits.

Prior to SCSS, hearings for each location were managed independently via a manual system consisting of Word documents and paper diaries, as well as an older DOS based system in the higher volume locations of Vancouver and New Westminster. The goal of SCSS was to move to an integrated system, shared by all locations for scheduling hearings and assigning Judges and courtrooms.

 

To modernize systems and take advantage of technology to ensure that the Court is responsive to the needs of litigants.

SCSS has enabled us to continue to improve the scheduling process. In 2004, 436 trials were heard in Vancouver and 19 scheduled trials were bumped. In 2005, 389 trials were heard in Vancouver, but only 6 scheduled trials were bumped. In 2004, 639 Long Chambers applications were heard while 45 were bumped. In 2005, 738 Long Chambers Applications were heard, but only 27 were bumped (please see Management and Statistical Information, Figure 4-5 at p.19). We also continue to work to implement enhancements to SCSS to further streamline the scheduling of matters before the Court and the rota assignments of members of the Court.

Permanent Implementation

  • information and communication technologies
  • litigation management
  • Supreme Court of British Columbia
July 2004 SCSS launched
2004 SCSS implemented in 12 of 29 locations
2005 SCSS implemented in 13 more locations
2006 SCSS implemented in remaining 4 locations
2004 Ontario Court Case Tracking System (FRANK)

Ontario

Court Services Division

Civil, Family, Small Claims, Divisional Court and Superior Court of Justice

Ontario Court Services' case tracking system.

FRANK provides a single, centrally managed case tracking system for use by court staff in civil, family, small claims and Divisional Court cases as well as Superior Court criminal cases. It automatically monitors regulated time periods for individual cases as prescribed by the rules; provides an automated index of cases; generates many required forms, notices and court lists; and also provides a calendaring and scheduling tool for trial schedulers.

CJRP at 123

FRANK allows statistical data about court activity to be extracted for the purpose of reporting. This has replaced the manual collection of data previously in place. Electronic case tracking also permits continuous monitoring of case volumes, case flow and dispositions.

Provincial case tracking system (FRANK) was developed to address management information and operational needs of Ontario's courts and to provide extensive data about case processing. Province-wide phased implementation was initiated in 2004 and is almost complete, with only one site, Toronto, remaining unconverted. It is anticipated that this site will be converted by 2009, completing the province-wide implementation and standardizing the use of a single court application to track all civil, family, Small Claims, Divisional Court and Superior Court of Justice Criminal Court cases.

A key element of CSD's future plan is to add document management functionality to FRANK in 2008-09, which will then permit the re-introduction of electronic filing of documents in the civil justice system. Once in place, the capacity to file documents electronically will be a major advance.

 

To more effectively manage court cases, collect data and facilitate tracking activity.

Permanent Implementation

  • information and communication technologies
  • litigation management
  • Ontario Court Services
  • Ontario Courts
2004 Province-wide phased implementation initiated
April 2005 Province-wide electronic data collection available
2007/2008 All court sites province wide converted to FRANK, except Toronto
2008/2009 Anticipated finalization of province-wide phased implementation of FRANK
2005 BC Court Services Online (Electronic Filing)

British Columbia

Ministry of Attorney General

  • BC Supreme Court (Civil)
  • Provincial Court (Small Claims)

BC Court Services Online service offering a method for litigants to file and access their court documents online.

The e-filing service allows registered users of Court Services Online to submit electronic court documents to the Civil Supreme and Provincial Court registries. In order to e-file, you must have a registered account with CSO or BC Online, accept the User Agreement and have a registered card against the account. For information on how to register, click the Register link from the CSO Home Page, under the Services menu.

The service fee to e-file a document is $7.00 per package. A package can consist of 1 or many documents that all relate to the same court file number.

In order to e-file each account must first accept the User Agreement. If you already have a CSO account, the account manager must accept the new User Agreement on behalf of the account before users in the account can access e-filing. New accounts also must accept the User Agreement in order to access e-filing on the CSO website. E-filing is available for most Supreme Court Civil and Provincial Small Claims documents. For restrictions on which documents can not be filed, refer to Supreme Court Rule 69 (5) and Small Claims Rule 22.

Documents submitted by e-filing must be in PDF format and no bigger than 8MB. Reader enabled electronic forms are available free of charge online through filing or you can access them from the following links; Supreme Court Forms and Small Claims Forms.

E-filing is a simple process and can take less than 3 minutes to complete. If you would like to see the process of filing to an existing file and creating a new file, watch our two online demos found on the CSO Home Page. Once you e-file your document, you can retrieve your electronic filed copy of the document via your CSO account (Electronic Filing at 1-2).

The e-filing pilot project was commenced in Kelowna through Court Services Online (CSO) in October 2005 and included Provincial Court and Supreme Court civil filings. The pilot was expanded in 2006 to 6 other registries, including Vancouver. In 2007, e-Filing went live in 16 registries. As of December 1, 2008, registered users can e-file to all court locations in the province. Registries that support e-filing are also scanning paper-filed documents to move the courts closer to complete electronic court files. As of 2007, judges of the Court have been processing e-Filed orders and viewing court files on-line.

One of the strategic goals of the BC Government is the provision of electronic web-based transactions to facilitate the interaction of the public and businesses with government services and court services. Court Services Online (CSO) is part of an electronic court services project designed to develop web-based services to facilitate interaction with the court registries across our province (Electronic Filing at 1).

Permanent implementation

  • British Columbia Court Services Branch
  • electronic filing systems
  • Provincial Court of British Columbia
  • Supreme Court of British Columbia
December 2004 CSO launched
July 2005 Legislative rules to facilitate e-filing came into effect
October 2005 E-filing component introduced in Kelowna as part of CSO
2006 E-filing expanded to 6 other registries, including Vancouver
2007 E-Filing went live in 16 registries
December 2008 Registered users can e-file to all court locations in the province

 

2005 Ontario Telejustice Project

Ontario

Project that uses various communication technologies to deliver Pro Bono Law Ontario services to the Nishnawbe Aski Nations communities.

The Telejustice Project represents a shift in the way PBLO delivers pro bono services to remote, rural communities in Ontario. An "urban-to-rural initiative", this project model, capitalizes on the concentration of legal resources available in urban centers. By using technology to bridge distances, PBLO can compliment the local pro bono services provided by small firms and sole practitioners in rural Ontario. "Lawyers throughout Ontario have told us that pro bono is an important part of the legal profession," says Lynn Burns, Executive Director of PBLO. "However, we understand that rural practitioners face unique barriers in participating in organized pro bono. PBLO's urban-to-rural projects will level the playing field of access to justice concerns without placing too much pressure on lawyers in rural areas."

Website

The Project uses a variety of communication platforms to connect the members of NAN with legal information, including a website, newspapers, newsletter and more. "There are also future plans to use information sheets, online tutorials, video-conferencing, on-line chat room and opening it up to the public." (Telejustice Project at 4).

The Project is staffed with approximately 25 volunteer lawyers who are willing to take questions related to various areas of law. In a partnership with the Windsor Law School, the Project is also assisted by volunteer law students. (Telejustice Project at 5).

The Project covers various areas of law, including:

  • Wills and powers of attorney
  • Landlord/tenant issues
  • Employment contracts
  • Consumer law
  • Senior legal issues
  • Administrative law
  • Criminal law (including youth justice)
  • Family Law (including child welfare)
  • Aboriginal and Treaty Rights

The Project is split into three phases.

 

First Phase

The first phase was completed in 2008. It involved:

  • implementation of Ask-a-Lawyer web-based interface, which "uses an interactive question-and-answer format that enables Community Legal Workers (CLW's) at NALSC to submit legal queries on behalf of NAN community members. These questions get dispatched to lawyers on the volunteer roster, who respond anonymously with their answers. The knowledge of these pro bono lawyers leverages the Community Legal Workers' ability to serve their very large and remote client base." (Website)
  • a monthly newspaper column in the Wawatay Newspaper

(Telejustice Project at 7).

While currently Ask-a-Lawyer interface is only accessible by CLWs, there are plans to open it up directly to the clients. The newspaper column in the Wawatay Newspaper initially started as an informational column, which was then changed into a legal advice column. There are plans to make the column bi-weekly. (Telejustice Project at 8, 16).

 

Second Phase

The second phase was initiated in 2008 and includes the development of:

  • Information Sheets dealing with topics specific to First Nation and translated into Aboriginal languages
  • Web-conference/web-cast Community Legal Education to be filmed by volunteers in Toronto
  • Video-conference Community Legal Education for workshops, information sessions and, possibly, private client sessions
  • On-line (chat room style) Community Legal Education
  • Legal Info articles housed on the website

(Telejustice Project at 7).

Third Phase

The third phase will take place after the completion of the second phase and will include:

  • Project Assessment
  • Redeployment based on feedback from project assessment

(Telejustice Project at 7).

A needs assessment conducted by Pro Bono Law Ontario in 2002 "found that 2.2 million Ontario residents living in rural, remote and Aboriginal communities lacked adequate access to justice and that despite the prevalence and persistence of poverty, those clients were often unable to get legal assistance to deal with their matters" (Website).

In 2005, to address this need, Pro Bono Law Ontario in partnership with Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation developed and implemented the Telejustice Project

"The Telejustice Project enables pro bono lawyers throughout Ontario to improve access to justice for the Nishnawbe Aski Nations communities (NAN communities) in northwest Ontario... The goal of the Telejustice Project is to help lessen geographical barriers to justice by adding technology into the mix of the clinic's service delivery methods." (Website).

Ongoing project

  • Aboriginal persons
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Pro bono services
2005 Telejustice Project launched
2008 First phase of the Project completed
2008 Second phase of the Project initiated
2006 Federal Electronic Filing Service

Federal

Courts Administration Service, Federal Court

Federal Court of Canada

Online service offering a modern, cost-effective method for litigants to file and access their Federal Court documents.

The Electronic Filing Service for the Federal Court is provided by LexisNexis Canada. Electronic filing of a document, in PDF or TIFF format, constitutes filing within the meaning of Rules 2 and 72 of the Federal Courts Rules.

Paper copies of electronically filed documents are not required if the document, including attachments, is 100 pages or less, or if it is 500 pages or less and is filed at least 5 business days before the hearing date (if any is scheduled). Paper copies are required for documents, including attachments, that are more than 500 pages long or without a complete paragraph or page numbering scheme.

The filer is provided with a web link to a proxy of the Court's copy of the e-filed document and any attachments to review the Court's version on file to satisfy themselves that it conforms to the original. Only parties, counsel and litigation support staff to a proceeding may view electronic documents pertaining to that proceeding. However, the paper copies of electronic filings that have not been sealed by the Court may be reviewed by any person at any Registry office (Annex).

The Federal Court electronic filing pilot project was launched in October 2005 with thirty firms practising in intellectual property proceedings across Canada participated in the pilot project.

In August 2006, following a review process, the Electronic Filing Service became generally available, although still limited to intellectual property proceedings. In May 2007, the Electronic Filing Service was expanded to include documents in immigration and admiralty proceedings. The Electronic Filing Service was further expanded in November 2008 to include the remainder of the Federal Court's jurisdiction.

To facilitate more efficient delivery of services to the public by offering a modern, cost-effective method for litigants to file and access their Court documents.

Permanent Implementation

  • electronic filing systems
  • Federal Court of Canada
October 2005 Electronic filing pilot project launched
August 2006 Electronic Filing Service became generally available
May 2007 Electronic Filing Service expanded to immigration and admiralty proceedings
November 2008 Electronic Filing Service expanded to the remainder of Federal Court's jurisdiction

 

2006 Newfoundland and Labrador Electronic Filing

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Law Courts
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Small Claims in the Provincial Court
  • Probate and Administration in the Supreme Court

 
The most basic definition of e-Filing is the electronic submission of documents. Implementing e-Filing at this basic level of functionality would only partially achieve the objectives and benefits intended by the initiative. Therefore the Project Sponsors and Business Issues Committees have agreed that the following functionality should be included within the scope of the e-Filing initiative:

  • Electronic Submission of Selected Court Documents (Most Small Claims and Probate and Administration case documents)
  • Electronic Payment of Application/Court Fees
  • Integration with Case Management Systems
  • Electronic Document Management
  • Electronic Access to Status of e-Filed documents
  • Automated Electronic (email) Notification of Process Status
  • E-Registry of Court Documents (Probate and Administration only)

Specifically excluded from the scope of the initial e-Filing initiative are the following:

  • Paperless Flow of e-Filed Documents through Court Processes
  • Electronic Service of Court Documents
  • Electronic Payment of Enforcement Payments (Small Claims)(2008 Annual Report at 29).

Electronic filing system in the Law Courts of Newfoundland and Labrador.

 
Initial research, precedents in other jurisdictions, and consultations with the law courts have helped to narrow the scope of the project to include one area from each of the province's two law courts:

  • Small Claims in the Provincial Court
  • Probate and Administration in the Supreme Court

These two areas have been selected as lower risk areas of the court, that would provide positive impact to the public, and that have finite, structured, and well-defined processes. Parties involved in these matters can be selfrepresented, and so a helpful, informative electronic filing initiative should serve to ease and streamline the process for the public, increasing the accessibility of services offered by the law courts. An equally important goal is to ensure that a positive impact is felt by the administration of the two courts. An electronic filing system should reduce operational costs and staff workloads in the courts...

The first stage undertaken in the project was the Requirements Analysis stage. The scope of work for this stage involved the gathering of business requirements for e-Filing for Small Claims cases in the Provincial Court and Probate and Administration cases of the Supreme Court. This was accomplished through a series of interviews and/or workshops with court staff, administration, and judiciary to fully document current business processes and workflows and to develop the business and functional requirements of a mutually agreeable solution for e-Filing. These requirements also encompass changes to existing internal case management systems. Requirements also address functionality for document and records management of e-Filed documents in accordance with Information Management practices and guidelines (2008 Annual Report at 29).

The project to implement an electronic filing system in the Law Courts of Newfoundland and Labrador was initiated in April 2006 as a joint initiative of the Law Courts and the Office of the Chief Information Officer. The program was implemented at the Small Claims in the Provincial Court and the Probate and Administration in the Supreme Court.

 
The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to implementing an electronic filing system in the law courts. This pilot project will introduce electronic document management, large scale integration between various court case management systems, and web-based public interaction. Under this joint project the Law Courts and the Office of the Chief Information Officer will work together to build a shared, secure infrastructure upon which to build further initiatives for e-Filing and electronic disclosure. It is important that it is generally known amongst stakeholders, sponsors, and onlookers alike that this project is considered to be a ground-breaker for continued, more broad e-Filing initiatives in each court (2008 Annual Report at 29).

Permanent Implementation

  • electronic filing systems
  • Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Trial Division)
April 2006 Project initiated
Sept/06-May/07 Requirements Analysis stage
May-Dec 2007 Design stage
May 2010 Implementation of the e-filing Initiative

 

2009 BC Distance Mediation Project

British Columbia

B.C. Mediator Roster Society

BC Mediator Roster Society project to provide communication technology for family mediation with non-urban individuals.

In this Project, mediations are held using current information and communication technologies. Experienced family mediators use these technologies to bring families together for the mediation, rather than meeting in-person. There are many technologies families can choose from, including telephone, e-mail, videoconferencing and webconferencing. 

To be eligible for the Project's free mediation services, at least one of the participating family members must live in a non-urban community of British Columbia with a population less than 10,000. The issue(s) to be resolved must relate to separation or divorce in British Columbia. These include issues relating to parenting, financial support, and small or large family property matters. Everyone participating must agree to use technology for the mediation...

Up to six hours of mediation services are available to eligible families at no charge, provided the issues to be resolved are appropriate to mediate using information and communication technologies.

The Distance Mediation Project, was run by the B.C. Mediator Roster Society and funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia, it offered free family mediation services to eligible families living in non-urban areas of British Columbia. The project ran between May 1, 2011 – May 15, 2012.

The project's goal was to find out how technology can best be used to provide high quality mediation services to families - especially families living in non-urban areas.   It also assisted family mediators by allowing them to  gain new knowledge about how they can use different technologies to help families work out their disagreements.

Completed

  • family law
  • information and communication technologies
  • mediation
  • alternative dispute resolution
May 15, 2012 Mediation services ended
May 1, 2011 Mediation services were offered
May 31, 2009 Pilot Project launched
2009 Clicklaw

British Columbia

Over twenty partner organizations with coordination by Courthouse Libraries BC and funding from the BC Law Foundation

Website guide to public legal education and information resources and legal services in BC

The Clicklaw site includes public legal information and education resources contributed directly to the site by 24 contributor organizations. Various ways of accessing these resources are provided:

  • The "Solve Problems" contains resources designed to inform people of their rights and how to resolve specific problems. Guides for common questions are included as results for some searches.
  • The "Learn and Teach" section includes education resources on the law and legal system.
  • The "Reform and Research" section includes law reform resources.

HelpMap provides a searchable map of legal services in the province. 

Clicklaw is a community-driven project sponsored by the Public Legal Education and Information Working Group and funded by the Law Foundation of BC. The PLEI Working Group is an informal body of seven organizations in BC that provide or support public legal education and information. An additional 17 organizations are formally participating in Clicklaw, linking the content on their websites together through Clicklaw. Courthouse Libraries BC is leading the development of Clicklaw.
The development of the project included extensive user testing and revision to develop an interface that could be easily accessed by a diverse public. A public-focused PLEI Taxonomy was developed to classify materials in plain language terms.(Civil Legal Needs at 36).
The PLEI Network undertook a mapping of legal services which has been incorporated into the site as a "HelpMap".

People are increasingly turning online to access information, and there is a rapidly growing body of legal information on the Internet. But the experience for a member of the public trying to find legal information or legal help online is often challenging:

  • the accuracy and reliability of information on the Internet varies widely
  • the information is spread across many websites, each with their own structure, search & so on
  • the public don't generally have a legal vocabulary to effectively search with

By offering a unified point of entry online into legal information, education and help for British Columbians, Clicklaw will represent a trustworthy gateway to quality legal information and services

 

Active

 

  • public legal education and information
  • websites
April 2009 Clicklaw website launched
December 2009 HelpMap portion of the site goes on-line
2011 Modernization of the Provincial Offences Act

Ontario

Law Commission of Ontario 

In December 2007, Kennth Jull, a legal practitioner with expertise in regulatory law, submitted a proposal to the LCO for a review of the POA with the objective of reforming certain aspects of the statute. With other projects already approved for study, the LCO was not able to consider undertaking the project until April 2009 when it was approved by the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors approved the Final Report in August 2011. The POA project has been headed by Mark Schofield, Ministry of the Attorney General LCO Counsel in Residence, 2009-2010, and Mohan Sharma, MAG LCO Counsel in Residence 2010-2011.

The POA project took as its starting point a refashioning of the statute to reflect the developments that have occurred since it was enacted 30 years ago, including the impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, changes to the Criminal Code, the considerable increase in fines for certain offences, the importance of new technologies and the official recognition of paralegals, among them. Yet the reason for the POA has not changed: to recognize the difference between regulatory and criminal offences. Similarly, the need for a relatively simple or accessible statute addressing procedure with regard to offences that affect many ordinary Ontarians remains a priority. 

"The recommendations fall into one of three categories: (a) structural reforms to the Provincial Offences Act system, including the transition to administrative monetary penalties for certain offences; (b) procedural reforms to be considered within any newly structured Provincial Offences Act or new POA rules or regulation, to be developed by the Ministry of the Attorney General or body responsible for the newly updated POA procedural code; and (c) future law reform initiatives given the limited scope of this project."

Completed

  • Administrative law 
  • Technology