Access to Justice in the Civil Context – Let's all work together!

I was recently in Court, on a Civil Motions list. If you’re not a lawyer, you likely don’t know that in Order to get your case on a Civil Motion list you must:

1. Serve the motion;
2. File the motion and pay $ 127.00 at the Court House;
3. Serve and file a motion confirmation form by 2:00 p.m., 2 “Court Days” prior to the hearing of the motion.

The motion confirmations described in step three can be sent by email or fax. Most law firms use fax because you then have a fax confirmation sheet. Why would you need that you ask?

Well, for example, on the day I was recently in Court, five matters were not on the Motion list because the Court Office did not have any record of them being confirmed on time: yet two of them were. Those files were “added to the list” for the day.

Sounds good, right? Wrong.

Because the Court Office made an error, those lawyers (at their hourly rates) were now sitting around for at least three hours longer, until the Judge had a chance to read their materials and hear their arguments.

Years ago I was in a situation where, despite having proved I confirmed on time, the Judge refused to hear my matter. I had to come back two weeks later.

The Attorney General talks about Access to Justice. The Judges, Law Professors and most lawyers talk about Access to Justice. Perhaps we can all think about that when doing our jobs in the legal system and make it work in the most efficient way (both monetarily and time wise) to accomplish that goal.

Inga B. Andriessen JD
iandriessen@andriessen.ca

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