After over a decade of Liberal rule in Ontario, we are beginning to see incremental change to our courts. We can now issue some pleadings online. However, my understanding is that the pleadings are then printed by our courts and then placed into a paper file.
The Ford government must continue the goal of instituting electronic-based court files. To move from paper to electronic files, we must have Internet in all of our courthouses. At this time, we do not.
Internet in our courthouses allows us to:
- file documents online,
- have electronic court files, and
- have court appearances by video.
Court appearances by video saves clients money. It also saves self-represented litigants money. It reduces the time spent by the lawyer on the file. It also means self-represented litigants no longer need to take the whole day off-work to appear in court.
In addition to saving people money, an electronic-based filing system decreases delay in our courts. Judges who have access to electronic files have an easier time writing decisions. They can easily work from home or at the office. They are no longer restricted by how many files they can physically carry around. For example, it has been shown in Israel that electronic-based files have decreased the cycle time between the court hearing and the rendering of the written decision.
(Views are my own and do not represent the views of any organization.)