What We Have Learned

CHAPTER 21


The Civil Justice Review has been charged with the task of providing practical, implementable solutions to the problems plaguing the civil justice system. We have consulted broadly in exercising this mandate, and what we have heard is a clear call for leadership and for restructuring.

We have learned a great deal.

In this, our First Report, we have set out our concept of an integrated civil justice system for the future, and identified specific issues which must be addressed to make the system responsive and compatible with the principles guiding the review.

Those principles are:

  • fairness
  • affordability
  • accessability
  • timeliness
  • accountability
  • efficiency and cost-effectiveness
  • a streamlined process and administration

We believe, after our lengthy and broad consultation phase, and after assessing the needs of the civil justice system measured against those guiding principles:

  • that a system of clear and accountable processes and procedures is required;
  • that a firm understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the participants in the system is critical, as is a commitment to support those roles;
  • that a realignment of existing resources to support the proposed structure will be needed, along with appropriate accountability mechanisms, to ensure that the new structure remains true to the guiding principles outlined above;
  • that greater and more meaningful public participation in the system is necessary;
  • that information and user-friendly tools to facilitate informed access to the system must be provided;
  • that the investment in, and the implementation of, a technology infrastructure will be a significant force for change, and will aid in achieving greater efficiencies to allow for the realignment of resources;
  • and that the design and development of a single structure of accountability and responsibility for the overall management, administration and budgeting of the system -- which ensures meaningful involvement from the Public, Bar, Bench, and Government -- is essential to advance the agenda for change which is sweeping the justice system.

In our recommendations we have attempted to formulate and assign some priorities to the structure of the proposed system, to its organization and management, and to the allocation of resources (human, physical and fiscal). We have done this with a view to placing the civil justice system in an optimal position from which it can respond to, and reflect, the ever-changing realities of public policy and justice administration. If we can lay a solid foundation for an operational base to the system, where people understand the policies, rules, and procedures which govern -- and apply to them -- and in which the support systems are properly aligned to ensure efficient and effective functioning, then we believe the public will be provided with the highest quality of justice and service that the system can deliver.