Last week we wrote about the Jordan decision and the impact it would have on the average Canadian. A few days later, CBC released a similar article detailing how each province plans to address the overburdened justice system. We thought it important to follow up on our last post, and respond to CBC’s article, as Ontario’s proposed solutions are expensive, insufficient, and don’t address underlying causes of trial backlog.

The full impact of Jordan lies ahead

In Jordan, the Supreme Court created a “transitional exception” for pre-Jordan cases to be exempt from the new time limits. To qualify for the exception, parties must show that they reasonably relied on pre-Jordan rules when they delayed the court’s proceedings. Even with the availability of the “transitional exception,” in the 10 months following the Jordan decision, 76 stays were granted in Ontario alone.

The prospect of 76 potential criminals roaming the streets is alarming, but what’s worse is that this number does not represent the full impact of the Jordan decision. When cases that entered the legal system post-Jordan begin to expire, we should expect a massive influx of stays being granted because the “transitional exception” will no longer be available.

New hires are expensive long term

One of Ontario’s proposed solutions is to hire 13 new judges, 32 assistant Crown attorneys and 26 court staff. This will cost more than 25 million dollars annually, and still may not be enough. If the demand for the legal system continues to grow as it has, new hires every few years will be inevitable. 

Plus, because trial backlog may get worse as transitional exceptions diminish, the number of new hires needed will grow larger still. Considering the average salary of a judge in Ontario is $280,000 and is sure to increase, this is no low fee.

Hiring increases don’t address underlying issues

In Jordan, the Supreme Court called for change in all parts of the justice system. Among those, they stated, “Trial courts may wish to review their case management regimes to ensure that they provide the tools for parties to collaborate and conduct cases efficiently.” Hiring a few more judges can only be part of the solution. The legal system must be dragged into the technology age; most Canadians would not believe little technology is used by courts.

Unless something is done, baseless claims will continue to make it into courtrooms. The problem is that people do not have enough information about the law. Even when a claim is legitimate, often, the claimants not realize that it is not in their best interest to go to court. Most of the time it’s in both of the parties best interests to settle outside of court as it saves them time and money wasted on litigation. The solutions proposed do not address the real problem - access to legal information is access to justice.

Unless something is done, baseless claims will continue to make it into courtrooms. The problem is that people do not have enough information about the law. Even when a claim is legitimate, often, the claimants not realize that it is not in their best interest to go to court. Most of the time it’s in both of the parties best interests to settle outside of court as it saves them time and money wasted on litigation. The solutions proposed do not address the real problem - access to legal information is access to justice. The solutions proposed do not address the real problem - access to legal information is access to justice.

Miralaw has developed a more transformative solution to trial backlog

As mentioned in our last post, we want to be part of the solution. Miralaw’s Neutral Algorithmic Evaluations (NAE) allow users to automatically compare their own circumstances to similar previously decided cases and determine how their claim may fare in front of a judge. Large scale implementation of NAEs could help to both reduce the amount of cases that end up in court and speed up existing trials. For example, NAEs can deter spurious court battles by dispelling unrealistic expectations, encourage out-of-court resolutions by serving as a negotiation or mediation tool, or aid a self-represented litigant whose lack of legal knowledge might delay court proceedings. By reducing the amount of Canadians who use the court system unnecessarily and by speeding up current trials, NAEs can help combat the effects of the Jordan decision. The proposed provincial solutions are helpful, but they can’t do the job alone.

To learn more about how Miralaw’s NAE can solve Canada’s trial backlog crisis, contact us.

Name
Name