I like to think I have a unique perspective on our court system as the result of three things: (1) I was called to the bar just last year (2019); (2) I started a law firm partnership right after my call; and (3) my fledgling post-call business venture happened to coincide with one of the most serious pandemics in recent memory. The combination of these three things leaves me in the position of (1) believing we can (and should) actually change things; (2) having the technological know-how to actually make some of these changes happen; and (3) having the energy to help nudge our court system in a better direction. If you read through this article and think to yourself “he’s naïve,” then I, if standing at least two metres away from you, would say “you’re jaded.”
With that in mind, I present my post-COVID court wishlist.
Digitalized, Accessible Court Filing System
Assuming you are a small-firm lawyer like me without administrative staff, you often have the pleasure of starting a court case using some permutation of the tried-and-true 18th century method: You fill out the court paperwork, lug yourself down to the courthouse, take a ticket, wait for an hour, have the court paperwork physically stamped by the court staff, lug yourself back to your office, serve the other parties, complete affidavits of service, lug yourself back down to the courthouse, take a ticket, wait for an hour, get told you are missing something, lug yourself back to your office, correct the offending document, lug yourself back to the courthouse, take another ticket, wait another hour, and file your paperwork.
In a shocking turn of events, this system doesn’t work so well when you can’t physically attend a courthouse, such as, *spoilers*, during a pandemic. If only we had technology that allowed us to upload PDF documents to a province-wide court database using an encrypted connection, in which case shuttered courthouses would not be an issue.