E-Hearings Task Force

To slow the spread of COVID-19, courts across Canada have suspended the majority of their in-person operations. We know that advocates are concerned that there is limited access to justice right now. Electronic hearings (“e-hearings”) conducted via teleconference or videoconference may offer a solution to this problem.

The Advocates' Society, the Ontario Bar Association, the Federation of Ontario Law Associations, and the Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association have established an E-Hearings Task Force to work with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to expand virtual access to the courts.

The E-Hearings Task Force will serve as a consultative forum and liaison between the Ontario bench and bar in respect of practice directions and other regulatory changes required to implement fair and efficient e-hearings, including motions, applications, pre-trial conferences, trials and appeals, by means of teleconference and videoconference and other available electronic platforms. Its mandate also includes the development of best practices for the preparation and conduct of e-hearings, and assisting the Superior Court of Justice and the Ministry of the Attorney General with the identification and procurement of workable platforms for the continued expansion of e-hearings in Ontario.

Members of the Task Force are drawn from all judicial regions in Ontario. Its composition includes a diverse group of advocates who practice in a wide range of areas, including criminal law, commercial litigation, plaintiff and defence personal injury litigation, family law, class actions and competition law. The Task Force includes members with significant technical knowledge related to e-hearings.

We will continue to update advocates across Ontario on the work of the Task Force as it progresses. The Task Force will seek input from members of the bar on matters falling within its mandate.

Questions, comments, or brief submissions regarding the work of the Task Force may be directed to suzanne@advocates.ca.