Introduction: Where Change is Necessary

CHAPTER 8


Pooh was puzzled. Actually, he wasn't so much puzzled as he was confuzzled. Confuzzled was almost the longest word that Pooh knew, and he hadn't known that until Christopher Robin had explained that it meant sort of mixed up and baffled. (italics added) [7]

So it is with the justice system. Confuzzlement, it seems, reigns.

Roles are confused. Lack of consultation and co-operation between the participants in the justice system leads to an administrative monster that muddles along at best. What's worse, it is a two-headed monster, with government responsible for most matters of administration and management, but with the judiciary responsible for the important areas of scheduling, assignment of judges and trial co-ordination. Resources and funding are constantly dwindling. The system is in crisis.

The public is puzzled and upset about all of this. The most frequently asked question in our consultations with the public, as we underscore several times throughout this Report, was,

"Who's in charge here ?"

There are five major ways, we believe, in which change must be addressed in order to make the civil justice system work effectively and in a manner that is consistent with the benchmarks which we outlined at the beginning of this Report.

Those benchmarks, to repeat, are the following:

  • Fairness
  • Affordability
  • Accessibility
  • Timeliness
  • Accountability
  • Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness, and
  • A Streamlined Process and Administration

The five major areas in which change must be effected are these:

  • Changing Attitudes and Roles

    There must be important changes in attitude on the part of the "three solitudes" most intricately involved in the system -- the Bench, the Bar and the Ministry -- including a recognition that meaningful public participation is necessary. Moreover, there must develop a will amongst these former solitudes to create a spirit of collaboration and co-operation and of shared responsibility and accountability in the operation of that system. Historical roles are changing.
  • A Unified Administrative and Budgetary Structure

    A unified structure for the administration and management of the Courts with clear lines of responsibility and accountability must be established.
  • Caseflow Management

    An overall system of caseflow management must be phased in across the province. This, too, has significant ramifications for the way in which the civil justice system is structured and supported, and for the traditional roles of lawyers and judges.
  • Technology

    Technology must be put in place,
    • to provide an accurate and reliable data information base for analysis and management of the system;
    • to enable the automated filing, recording, storing and transferring of documents and the automated payment for such transactions;
    • to equip the judiciary with necessary computer and electronic facilities to assist them in the courtroom, in the making of their decisions, and in the management of their caseflow; and,
    • to facilitate easier access for the public through interactive and simple technology such as kiosks or user-friendly terminals at court offices.
  • Funding

    The system must be properly and adequately funded, a dictate which requires not only wholesale changes in the way in which overall resources already available to the justice system are allocated and utilized, but also a total re-assessment of the way in which future resources are allocated to the justice system.
  • Cost

    The cost of justice, and the various ways in which such cost is incurred, must be re-examined.

This section of the Report, Part II, deals with the foregoing changes.



Footnotes:

[7] R.E. Allen, Winnie-the-Pooh on Management: In Which a Very Important Bear and His Friends are Introduced to a Very Important Subject, E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. New York, New York, 1994, at p. 21.