Our firm has a fantastic Licensed Paralegal, Murray Brown, who handles all of our Small Claims matters and we have a lot of them. As we look back on the Court controlled pace of litigation in the firm in 2022, it’s very obvious that the Small Claims Court is the slowest of all Courts to get up and running post-Covid Shut Down – and yes, that Court actually shut down.
While no one asked my opinion, oh wait they did, but I never heard back, here are some practical, easily implemented solutions to clearing the Backlog:
1. Hire lawyers with 10 years+ of experience to handle the settlement conference backlog. Hey, you could even ask them to volunteer and count it towards CPD hours.
2. Bring back night Court. We had this when I Articled in the early 90s, no reason it cannot make a return.
3. Hire full-time Small Claims Judges on Contract for two years to blow through the trial backlog.
Ignoring Small Claims is impacting low-wage earners who brought wrongful dismissal claims in 2019 and are still waiting for trial, it’s impacting collection litigation started in 2019, meaning debtors are harder to collect against and it’s eliminating justice for all.
Let’s fix this. It isn’t that hard: it just needs to get done.
Inga B. Andriessen, Principal Lawyer