Access to Justice Blog

As one of the two Manitoba representatives on the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters (“Action Committee”), I attended the Summit which took place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, from May 25 – May 27 2022.  The first day of the Summit was held at the Wanuskewin Educational Centre on the outskirts of Saskatoon.  Justice Karakatsanis opened the Summit as Chair.Read More →

The Manitoba Legislature has recently passed the Court of Appeal and Provincial Court Amendment Act. The act serves to advance the cause of access to justice in Manitoba. Specifically, the act allows for the Chief Justice of Manitoba to appoint a judge to meet with the parties to attempt to settle issues on appeal before the hearing, at the request of all parties of the appeal. This aspect of the act is welcome as it allows for disputes to be settled before a full hearing, thus reducing time and cost to the parties involved.Read More →

In its recent report No Turning Back: CBA Task Force Report on Justice Issues Arising from Covid-19, the Canadian Bar Association remarked on the rapid adoption of new technology by Canadian legal actors. Many of these newly adopted technologies promise to save time, costs, and improve access for individuals seeking to access the justice system. However, these new technologies also create new challenges. One such issue is the balancing of the open court principle with access to justice concerns considering the unprecedented amount of exposure participants in the justice system face as a result of the digitization of court documents.Read More →

Summary judgment motions are a powerful tool in the hands of modern courts that can greatly decrease the cost and time commitment of court proceedings for litigants. The Supreme Court endorsed summary judgment as a substitute for full trials in the case of Hryniak v. Mauldin, a case that arose in Ontario with regards to that province’s rules regarding summary judgment. In that case the court found that full trials had become an illusionary concept in terms of a reachable and adequate means of decisions when it came to the disputes of ordinary Canadians.Read More →

It is clear there are not enough lawyers practicing in rural and remote Manitoba. The attraction and retention of lawyers in rural and remote communities is increasingly becoming a deep issue of accessibility to justice. The majority of Manitobans, around 60%, reside in or around Winnipeg. Manitoba’s legal profession is not reflective of the population spread, with 90%of the bar practising in Winnipeg. According to the Law Society of Manitoba, attracting young lawyers to rural Manitoba has become a pressing issue.Read More →

Effective January 1, 2018, many amendments were made to the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Rules (the “QB Rules”), designed to resolve cases more proportionately, and thus more in accordance with access to justice. One of these, Rule 2.04 of the QB Rules, has rarely been used. But after the Manitoba Court of Appeal recently approved of its use, it is possible that that will change.Read More →

Legislatures frequently seek to prevent meritless litigation from consuming court time. But how far can they go without restricting access to the courts, with such access to the courts being, at least to come extent, a constitutional right. A recent case out of Ontario analyzed the constitutionality of one gatekeeping initiative in that province. The impacts of the decision may well extend beyond that province’s borders.Read More →