Effective July 6, 2020, the Regional Notice entitled Notice to the Profession – Second Expansion of Matters to be Heard in the Ontario Superior Court – Southwest Region (May 12, 2020) is rescinded.
Chief Justice Morawetz and all eight Regional Senior Justices issued new Notices to the Profession. They expand the SCJ’s virtual court operations in each region, effective April 6, 2020.
Above are two Provincial Notices to the Profession from Chief Justice Morawetz (Criminal and Civil/Family). They address a variety of issues including emailing material to the court, service by email, media access to court proceedings, and gowning. They include links to the eight Regional Notices to the Profession. The eight Regional Notices identify which matters may be heard in each region, and the process to have a matter heard. Below is a memo from the Office of the Chief Justice that provides a summary of the Notices to the Profession issued today, for information purposes only.
There are two developments you should know about:
- On Friday, March 27, Chief Justice Morawetz sent out a letter to the profession announcing that effective April 6, the scope of matters that could be dealt with remotely would be expanded. It was anticipated that the Court’s plan to expand virtual operations would be released on April 2. To liaise with the SCO, a bench and bar committee is being struck, with the members of that committee coming from various justice stakeholders, including FOLA. I will be acting as FOLA’s representative on this bench and bar committee. We are having our first Zoom meeting Tuesday afternoon and I will report further following that meeting.
- A task force has been struck to try to locate a suitable vendor who could provide a platform for electronic hearings. This task force is being chaired by Maria-Andre Vermette, member of the Advocates Society. FOLA’s representative on the task force is east region representative Kristin Muszynski. That task force is in contact with MAG and the Executive Legal Officer from the SCO. We will report on the task force as its work progresses.
One of the challenges faced in the SCO, as was referenced in Justice Morawetz’s letter last week, is the court’s limited ability to receive materials in electronic format and the support required to run a virtual court. Additionally, the ability of the court to provide electronic services is not uniform throughout the province.