The solution to the high cost of access to justice is simplifying legal processes and turning away from paper systems in favour of technology, Toronto family law lawyer Andrew Feldstein writes in the Globe and Mail.
Responding to a Globe editorial on the “abysmal” state of access to justice in Canada, Feldstein says, “Courts are notoriously process-driven; our legal system still relies on paper, not technology (the court system does not take advantage of electronic documents or electronic calendaring, for example).”
In a letter to the editor, he says cutting paperwork is the key to reducing costs - and notes an influx of self-represented litigants in the system also isn’t helping.
“When I look across the table at a ‘self-represented litigant’ (the opposing spouse without a lawyer), we know our side’s legal bills will climb. Not understanding the law drags out legal cases, it does not speed them up,” writes Feldstein.
“No government is going to throw millions of dollars at building new courthouses, appointing more judges and providing training courses for ‘self-represented litigants.’”
Feldstein adds: "With half of Canadians facing a justiciable event, as Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin predicts, all Canadians should be calling their members of Parliament, demanding new laws and rules to cut time and paperwork, and therefore costs.
"Last September, every Canadian member of Parliament received www.ItsTimeForJustice.ca, asking them to make changes. Change for access to justice starts with our elected officials, federal and provincial."