Canadian Lawyer

May 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 10 of 43 9 Attorney General Doug Downey on his Justice Accelerated Strategy What are the modernizing aspects of this Justice Accelerated Strategy? It is formalizing a commitment and the overall strat- egy we've been doing. You've seen some of the work already — breaking down the barriers and speeding up services. So, it's a bit of a formalization of what we've been doing to create change. What can you tell me about the $28.5-million investment in the digital case management sys- tem? What is the benefit of this? We're building on the experience in the B.C. tribunals. They have a really excellent product. And so, back last January, I had a chat with the attorney general of B.C., and we struck a deal to use that product as a base and bring it to Ontario. The benefits of it are demonstrated through the four years of experience that B.C. has. It's easier for people to access. It creates resolutions at a much higher rate and much faster, prior to a hearing, if a hearing is needed at all. So, it's really a different way of doing business, which dovetails perfectly with some of the other things we've been doing. How will the plan enhance access to justice for Indigenous communities? We're working with several Indigenous communities to make sure that they have the resources they need to minimize having to leave their community, to create op- portunities for resolution faster and cheaper, to make it more accessible. Justice Accelerated, as a strategy, is the touchstone for how we do change. And you'll see over the last year that we've created a different muscle memory on how to change and how to engage. And we're taking that same process into our engagement with the Indigenous communities to create designs and create products that will serve them better. You said the plan would expand access to remote court services. Where will this expand remote court services? And when is that planned to be rolled out? Yeah, so in terms of the tribunals piece, it will be avail- able throughout Ontario, 24 hours a day. It's an online product that allows people to engage in and work through their issues. So, that piece will be everywhere. We also have a stream where we're working on northern and rural courts and court matters to make it more accessible for them. Of course, technology is a huge piece of that, to allow people to not have to travel from different places. Since March of last year, so about a year ago, we have had about 66,000 remote matters taking place. And all the hearings for in-custody are now handled remotely. All of these have an impact on rural and northern communities. How will the courthouse of the future look? The courthouse of the future is client facing. It's user facing. It's designing and putting tools in place for people to access that space. Traditionally, courthouses have not been designed with the public in mind, as much as we should have. So, we'll use new technology to create a better user experience. And we'll use design to create a better experience as well. Firm launches program for data- informed decision- making in litigation While the legal profession has been content not relying on data analysis in the past, the goal of a new program promoting data-driven decision-making at Lenczner Slaght is to change that, says commercial litigator Paul- Erik Veel. The Lenczner Slaght Data-Driven Decisions involves harnessing available data- analytics technology and products, staying ahead of the curve on "pioneering empirical research on litigation" and developing its own proprietary data sets and analytics. Lawyers applaud use of YouTube for Minassian verdict Using YouTube for the decision on the mental capacity of Alek Minassian, who was responsible for the 2018 Toronto van attack, is a boon to the public's trust in the administration of justice, say criminal defence lawyers Jacob Roth and John Struthers. Streamed online in a live YouTube hearing, Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy ruled that Minassian, who ran down 26 people, was capable of knowing his actions were morally wrong and found him guilty of the murder of 10 people and the attempted murder of 16. Firms extend funding to U of T Law's Black Future Lawyers program A new partnership of 14 Canadian firms has announced a 10-year combined financial commitment of $1.75 million to the Black Future Lawyers, a University of Toronto Faculty of Law program to encourage Black students to attend law school. The firms seek to accelerate the achievement of the program goals, including assisting Black students to tackle systemic challenges that stop them from accessing professional education. Q&A Doug Downey Attorney General of Ontario, MPP for Barrie-Springwater- Oro-Medonte Legal career: » Created the first municipal conservation easement in Ontario » Completed the first court-ordered dissolution of a time- share condo in Canada Politics » President of the York-Simcoe Federal Progressive Conservative Riding Association: 1993 » City councillor in Orillia: 2000-2006 » Ontario Small Urban Municipalities Board: 2003-2006l

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