September 30, 2023

It’s a brand new yr.  And it’s one thing of a recent begin, after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted an unexpectedly tough couple of years.  However within the realm of Household Regulation particularly, there’s a number of catching as much as do.

That’s why the Chief Justice Morawetz of the Ontario Superior Courtroom has issued a December 2022 Memorandum, advising about an initiative aimed squarely at clearing the backlog of civil trials.  

By the work of the Superior Courtroom of Justice Regional Senior Judges Council, a particular session of two completely different 4-week lengthy digital trial sittings can be held, for civil circumstances that don’t contain a jury.  

The primary sitting (held mid-November to early December 2023) will goal the Southwest Area first.  Circumstances can be triaged in response to their age, and the chance of being scheduled for trial in cheap quick order.   The second 4-week sitting (in April 2024) will give attention to circumstances from all different areas.  Pre-trial and trial dates can be pooled from throughout the province, and using CaseLines can be obligatory.

Chief Justice Morawetz added in his memo:

Within the coming weeks, events will start receiving pre-trial and trial dates. In circumstances chosen, counsel and witnesses should make themselves obtainable all day, each weekday throughout the sitting to make sure the environment friendly use of the Courtroom’s time. 

The Memo additionally calls upon legal professionals for his or her suggestions on who to make this backlog-clearing course of as environment friendly as potential.

The transfer is being heralded within the authorized occupation as being a very good first step.  Nonetheless, some legal professionals’ organizations and different stakeholders have expressed concern that – in gentle of what’s been referred to as a “large” COVID-19 backlog – two particular sittings won’t be sufficient, and that rather more must be accomplished.