It’s been almost four months since the courts in Ontario closed and Premier Ford announced a state of emergency for this province. Three months since that historic moment when I watched Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tell Canadians, “It’s time to come home.
My law firm, like many others, has been on a roller coaster ride. I was contacted by administrative staff at courts and lawyers at law firms to cancel proceedings one by one, proceedings that had been booked months prior. How would I tell my clients that there would be significant delay in their case? How would I tell my staff that there was a shortage of work? How would my firm make it through these times?
Fast forward and I can can say with confidence that my firm most certainly made it through tumultuous times. I had to make hard decisions but they were made.
For those with open law suits, although the courts started to reopen this week, there are some aspects of personal injury law suits that are now able to move forward and some that aren’t.
Lawyers have learned how to conduct Examinations for Discovery and Mediations virtually and while it’s not a perfect substitute in my opinion, it’s effective at moving the file forward.
Courts are now hearing consent and unopposed motions and supposedly some contested matters are being heard or will be heard. The Toronto courthouse is hearing pre-trials virtually. Trials are not occurring but there is a push to abolish juries which I believe will enable trials to more easily be conducted virtually.
Lawyers, judges and the entire judicial system made great strides in modernizing a system that was outdated and in need of reform. Perhaps the silver lining of this pandemic however there is much more needed in order to bring the courts to modern day times.