Towards A Final Report
We have endeavoured in this report to lay out our vision of what the civil justice system should look like in the latter 1990's and into the next century. We expect that these recommendations will form the foundation and basis for our Final Report.
There is, as we have noted, however, much that remains to be done. Some of our recommendations can be implemented immediately. Others will require further consultation and refinement in the course of their implementation. Still others remain to be considered and examined further. In addition, there are a number of areas in which our Fundamental Issues Group is conducting research and formulating proposals which we will be receiving and considering in connection with our Final Report.
Fundamental Issues Group
It is the function of the fundamental issues group to deal with issues of longer range implications for the civil justice system. In this respect, it is considering such matters as,
- the role and function of civil juries;
- the question of how the superior trial court can most appropriately and effectively carry out its mandate in dealing with civil cases, in terms of the way in which various types of cases are processed within and/or outside of the courts;
- the role of Small Claims courts in providing effective access to the system, and the jurisdiction and structure of such courts; and,
- certain aspects of ADR.
In pursuing its mandate, the Fundamental Issues Group has held a consultation forum with leading academics from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom; has commissioned a number of research papers in important areas; and is meeting with community organizations. These papers and the results of the fundamental group's input will be forthcoming prior to our Final Report. They will form an important element in our deliberations leading up to that Report.
Other Outstanding Issues
There are several remaining issues which have been identified during our consultation phase and in our research efforts, and which we have not been able to deal with in any final way in this First Report. We have noted them, from time to time throughout the Report. They require continued and more detailed examination, and will be another focus of our Final Report. They include:
- issues surrounding the cost of justice, both from an institutional or systemic perspective and from the perspective of individual litigants;
- considerations regarding the form of service model and funding options with respect to court-connected ADR;
- questions relating to the criteria for determining the allocation of judicial resources;
- implementation of the family law recommendations;
- methods of streamlining the examination for discovery process and making it more cost-effective;
- venue (place of trial);
- enforcement procedures;
- questions pertaining to records management in the system;
- small claims;
- landlord and tenant matters; and,
- effective ways of dealing with construction lien claims;
This is our First Report.
Its recommendations were formulated in the crucible of a broad consultation process involving the Public, Court Administrators, Ministry officials, members of the Bar, and the Judiciary. Expectations abound. Our deliberations were inspired by and hopefully engendered a growing spirit of co-operation amongst those who participate in and have responsibility for the civil justice system, and by a discernible will amongst those participants for positive restructuring and change.