Candice Chan-Glasgow, Director, Review Services and Counsel

 

July 24, 2020

 

On July 6, 2020, courtrooms in certain locations across Ontario resumed in-person proceedings, and each week, additional courtrooms across the province are continuing to re-open. 

 

However, Chief Justice Morawetz’s July 21, 2020 Notice to the Profession recognizes that not all participants may be comfortable attending a courthouse during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that virtual hearings should be explored when requested.

 

Counsel and parties facing a request for a virtual hearing should consider Justice Myers’ recent order that an examination for discovery proceed by video conference.  Justice Myers wrote in Arconti v. Smith, 2020 ONSC 2782 at paras 19 and 33:

 

In my view, the simplest answer to this issue is, “It’s 2020”. We no longer record evidence using quill and ink. In fact, we apparently do not even teach children to use cursive writing in all schools anymore. We now have the technological ability to communicate remotely effectively. Using it is more efficient and far less costly than personal attendance. We should not be going back.

In my view, in 2020, use of readily available technology is part of the basic skillset required of civil litigators and courts.

 

The increased use of technology in our profession over the last few months has been the silver lining during these unprecedented times. In light of that, Justice Myers’ exhortation is both reasonable and welcomed.

 

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