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Monday, May 8, 2017

E-FILING PILOT PROGRAM LAUNCHES
The president of the Ontario Bar Association says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that the government finally has a plan in place to make e-filing a provincewide reality following the launch of a pilot project for online filing of civil claims by the Ministry of the Attorney General.

“The Ontario Bar Association has long advocated for an e-filing system in the Superior Courts of this province,” David Sterns told Law Times.

“This pilot project is an important first step in this direction.” 

The first phase of the pilot project, launched April 24, allows for e-filing of civil claims in the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton, Ottawa, London, Newmarket and Sudbury.

“The government has shared with us its plan and timeline for the creation of an e-filing system for all parts of the province covering all filings in Superior Court,” says Sterns.

“We are cautiously optimistic that it finally has the plan, funding and team in place to make this happen.”

Emilie Smith, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, told Law Times that the provincial government “is committed to making the justice system simpler and faster for all Ontarians.”

Smith says the pilot service allows the filing of the following documents with the Superior Court of Justice: statements of claim, notices of action, affidavits of litigation guardians for plaintiffs under disability, request for bilingual proceedings and consent to file documents in French.

“In Phase 1, users will be able to e-file documents online to file a notice of action or statement of claim for all proceedings, pay court fees online and receive court-issued documents by email,” says Smith.

“In future phases, users will be able to e-file additional documents that are part of their civil claim.”

The pilot period is expected to last up to six months.

ROBICHAUD’S OPENS LONDON OFFICE
Robichaud’s Criminal Defence Litigation opened its new criminal law office in London, Ont. on May 1. The new office will serve as Robichaud’s third Ontario location, along with its main Toronto and York Region offices. Robichaud said it hopes to open more localized offices throughout the province in the coming months.

MCCUTCHEON, MORRIS JOIN TORYS
Torys LLP announces two new hires in its Toronto office.

Jill E. McCutcheon joins as partner, while Kelly Morris signs on as senior counsel. McCutcheon and Morris bring their expertise in bank and insurance regulatory matters to their new firm.
Both were previously with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto where they each served as partner.

LAW TIMES POLL
Law Times reports that the LSUC has approved a sliding cap for referral fees for lawyers. We asked readers if they think changes to the rules will bring increased transparency to the referral process.

Twenty-nine per cent said yes, the new changes will increase public confidence in the profession, while 71 per cent said no, there is no guarantee this will bring enhanced transparency, as it’s unclear how the new rules will be enforced.

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Law Times poll

A recent Court of Appeal decision acknowledged a ‘new reality’ of civil litigation in which courts are seeing a significant number of self-represented litigants. Are courts are doing a good job of addressing the needs of self-represented litigants?
Yes, judges are doing a good job of ensuring trial fairness.
No, courts have only just begun to consider the many issues surrounding self-represented litigants.