It may seem like equal parts pipe dream and unscheduled inevitability, but in the context of an acknowledged access to justice crisis in Canada, the call for technological modernization of our nation`s courts seems to be approaching critical mass.
What will this brave new future look like? How can we ready our practices?What are the likely features and implications of the eCourts of this possible, not-to-distant future? Assuming that it's not all just science fiction and that these changes really are coming, how can we begin to adapt and prepare - and advocate - for the innovations that may soon be upon us?
Frankly, I was probaby a bit nicer about this topic in my SlawTips post than I needed to be - but Slaw (except for Mitch) is a much nicer place than Wise Law Blog, after all.
To pull fewer punches, the delay in implementing these changes is inexcusable and embarrassing. This is not rocket science. All the necessary technologies exist and have existed for quite some time. Many American jurisdictions already have eCourt systems in place. Some Canadian courts, like the Supreme Court of Canada, are already well on the way in this regard. Other Ontario government services like land registry, corporate registration and corporate search are fully digitized and online. Yet these long-overdue civil justice reforms, despite numerous starts and stops over the last decade-plus, haven't moved forward an inch.
The systematic failure to achieve digital court reform continues to be a direct cause of unnecessary litigation delays, lost and misplaced documents at courthouses and intolerable environmental waste. It makes the lives of lawyers, litigants, judges and all "stakeholders" (a word I'd like to banish from the English language) more difficult and stressful. And it continues to cost our clients money they can't afford.
The time for change is now.
For more, see: eCourts: Prepare for Change