Law Times

February 6, 2012

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

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CRITICAL COMMENTS Cavoukian slams lawful access bills P5 Follow on DEBATE CLOSED should end discussion on combining injuries P7 www.twitter.com/lawtimes $4.00 • Vol. 23, No. 5 Untitled-3 1 COVERING ONTARIO'S LEGAL SCENE • WWW.LAWTIMESNEWS.COM L AW TIMES 5/5/10 3:55:30 PM ntitled-3 1 BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times caseload involving more complicated matters, according to lawyers and paralegals who do work there. Originally proposed by former associate chief justice Coul- N ter Osborne in the 2007 civil justice reform project report, On- tario's plan to increase the monetary jurisdiction of small claims matters to $25,000 from $10,000 took eff ect in January 2010. In a bid to improve access to justice, Ontario joined the ranks of Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon in increasing the monetary cap for small claims. By transferring claims from the Superior Court to the Small Claims Court, the province argued the legal system would be easier to access and more aff ordable for individuals. But Toronto paralegal Rick Goodman says the province's plan is having the opposite eff ect as increased delays and an overworked system plague the Small Claims Court. "We're seeing more claims going through the Small Claims Court than ever before," says Goodman of Fredrick Good- man Paralegal in Toronto. "Also, the quality of the claims are increasing and becoming much more sophisticated. Th e top- ics have become newer and more modern, and there's a trend where people are bringing more actions in that they never would have considered under the old $10,000 cap." Th e result, according to Goodman, hasn't been positive. "Because the attorney general has not increased the re- sources given to small claims courts, there aren't enough early two years aſt er it changed the rules governing the Small Claims Court, the province's plan to make the so-called people's court more accessible by in- creasing the monetary jurisdiction is facing a num- ber of challenges, including delays and an increased FOCUS ON International/Cross-border law P9 Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. February 6, 2012 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM Small Claims Court facing challenges Delays, increased caseload among results of 2010 rule changes Provincial changes to move more matters to the Small Claims Court aren't working out as well as planned, says Rick Goodman. clerical staff , no updated computers, and no extra judges to handle that increase," he says. "Th at leads to people not being given proper notice, an Photo: Laura Pedersen inordinate amount of time and resources being wasted, and, in- herently, delays, because the courts just cannot keep up." See Small, page 4 BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times T he Law Society of Upper Can- ada has established a working group to look into concerns about its continuing profes- sional development requirement aſt er some lawyers complained that aspects of the fl edgling policy were "repetitive" and "limiting." Convocation approved the working group on Jan. 26. Th e group will focus on addressing concerns about the policy's requirement for interactivity; complaints about the obligations of new lawyers; and the amount of hours required of lawyers and paralegals. Continued professional de- velopment became mandatory for lawyers and paralegals last year aſt er the professional development and competence committee and the paralegal standing committee ap- proved the policy in February 2010. Under the policy, lawyers and paralegals who have been in practice for more than two years must com- plete 12 hours of continued profes- sional development with at least three of those hours being on topics related to professional responsibili- ty, ethics, and practice management. For lawyers and paralegals who have been practising for less than two years, all of the required hours must incorporate these three topic areas. But according to a report from the law society's professional devel- opment and competence commit- tee, the policy has proved a chal- lenge for many of those it aff ects. "Th e current policy requires members to view archived webcasts with a colleague in order to fulfi l the interactivity requirement," the report noted. "Concerns have been expressed by sole and small fi rm practitioners around the diffi culties of fi nding and scheduling viewing times with colleagues, among other concerns." Toronto paralegal Marshall Yar- mus says he has experienced that diffi culty fi rst-hand. He notes web- casts oſt en aren't accessible and can be time-consuming as well. "Th ere have been times where I've wanted to use a webcast but it has not been available online or isn't archived," says Yarmus. "It's particu- larly diffi cult to meet the profession- al development requirements when I have to attend court and deal with these problems. I don't have a lot of spare time to devote to this, so it is a bit of a concern." Allan Griesdorf, a semi-retired The new requirement 'shouldn't be looked at as a burden,' says Aaron Grinhaus. lawyer in Toronto, agrees, adding the requirement for interactivity seems "silly." See Lawyers, page 4 FEEDS LEGAL LegalFeeds_Cl_Jan_11.indd 1 A daily blog of visit www.lawtimesnews.com 1/6/11 11:44:49 AM Canadian Legal News Kusnierz canadianlaw yermag.com/ legalfeeds Review reveals concerns about 'repetitive' CPD content PM #40762529

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