Letter to the Chief Justice and Attorney General

November, 1996

The Honourable Patrick J. LeSage
Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2N5

The Honourable Charles Harnick
Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2S9

Dear Chief Justice and Attorney General:

We are pleased to submit for your consideration the Supplemental and Final Report of the Civil Justice Review team.

In our First Report, submitted in March 1995, we set out what we believe to be the blueprint for a civil justice system which meets the benchmark criteria established at the outset of our earlier deliberations, namely those of:

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

This completes the broad review of the civil justice system which your predecessors in office requested us to undertake. The blueprint drafted in our First Report forms the foundation and basis for the further recommendations contained in this Supplemental and Final Report, which are intended to supplement, not supplant, the proposals of the First Report. The two must be read together.

Much of a constructive nature has been accomplished towards implementation of the First Report's recommendations. We have summarized those efforts here. At the heart of the Supplemental and Final Report, however, is a more comprehensive examination of the case management system and supporting rules which we propose be introduced on a province-wide basis and of the manner in which ADR techniques should be integrated into that system. In addition, we make further recommendations in the areas of family law, landlord and tenant, small claims, construction liens, enforcement and venue.

While in some of these latter subjects we have not been able to offer "final" recommendations because it became apparent to us that to do so would take us beyond our mandate to propose "specific and implementable solutions" -- we have made what we believe to be important recommendations with respect to each of them, and we have put forward suggestions as to how they might be further pursued. For instance, we have recommended strongly that a separate Family Justice Review be created to carry out in the family law area the same sort of "congealing" exercise for which the Civil Justice Review has been a catalyst in the civil justice system generally, and we have proposed reforms for further consideration in the areas of small claims and enforcement.

None of this could have been accomplished without the dedicated efforts of the Civil Justice Review staff and without similar contributions from our advisory participants and others who generously offered the benefit of their wisdom and experience.

Nor, of course, could any of this have been accomplished or any of our previous recommendations implemented without the acceptance and support of you. We are grateful for that, and for your trust and support throughout our endeavours.

We look forward to your considered response to the recommendations in this report.

The Hon. Robert A. Blair
Ontario Court of Justice
(General Division)
Co-Chair
Civil Justice Review
 
Heather Cooper
Assistant Deputy Attorney General
Courts Administration Division
Co-Chair
Civil Justice Review
 
Terrence J. O'Sullivan
Barrister and Solicitor
Partner
McMillan, Binch
Task Force Member
Civil Justice Review
Mary McConville
Executive Director
Ontario Association of Children's Aid
Societies
Task Force Member
Civil Justice Review