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Advancing Litigation During The COVID-19 Pandemic



COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 Pandemic

The restrictions and changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to us have farfetched effects across Ontario as well as entire Canada. While the economy of the country, as well as the business, is the obvious victims of this problem, the legal profession also could not skip the blow. 

The drastic changes have helped the lawyers of De Bousquet PC Mississauga to find different ways to help their clients. This is a tough time for the lawyers to move the files of their clients as the courts across the country were closed and the lawyers were working from their homes. 

To help the clients understand the major upheaval that the lawyers have seen in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice due to the pandemic, the lawyers have explained the essential information in the following section of this article. They have also depicted some of the solutions that the legal professionals have conjured up to fight this unprecedented challenge. 

Closure of the Courts

The complete closure of the courts is perhaps the biggest challenge that the pandemic has thrown to the states as well as to the country. To protect the health and the safety of the court users, the Supreme Court of Canada had suspended all the in-person operations of the courts since 17th March 2020. The procedural deadlines and limitation procedures were also halted about the same time by the provincial government of Ontario. 

Challenges of The Litigants

While the changes were imposed to protect the health and safety of all, it created major problems for the litigants, who were waiting for a court decree to settle their disputes. The people who were waiting for the ruling of the court to solve their cases also faced huge problems. 

The lawyers of De Bousquet PC Mississauga point out that it is a fortunate fact that only a small fraction of all the legal cases in Canada actually move to the court. Otherwise, this could have led to a complete disaster. While the closure of the courts impacted the cases that are waiting for the trial, it did not create any problems for the litigators from moving the files of their clients in some other ways. 

For example, during this lockdown period, most of the lawyers and legal counselors worked hard from their home through emails and letters. The lawyers took this time as an opportunity for drafting documents and corresponding to the opposing legal counsel. Through video conferencing, the lawyers have also offered their clients virtual consultations. 

Using the smart technology available these days, the lawyers of De Bousquet PC Mississauga have been doing mediation and examination of the documents for discovery and commissioning the documents virtually. 

Case Conference

The case conferencing means having an appointment with a judge while the application is still active. The party should complete the case conference request form and submit it to the coordinator responsible for the trial. 

The coordinator generally responds within a few days of filing the legal document. This procedure remained almost unaffected during the lockdown for the pandemic. The lawyers followed the procedures of case conferencing and were able to schedule a case conference within two weeks after applying for it. The case conference in itself is a 15 minutes teleconference with a master or a judge. 

During such conferences, the judge or the master can direct and give different orders for the benefit of the proceedings in case the following circumstances take place. 

  • The parties that cannot agree on procedural matters or scheduling that are involved in the proceedings.
  •  It involves a party who has failed to abide by the timeline requirements depicted in the rules and requires assistance from the court.

In both these situations, the case conferences have been extremely beneficial for the litigants, as well as the litigators. Getting a direction from the decision-maker informally also helps the proceedings of the case effectively which might have been delayed and no doubt expensive otherwise. 

In most of the cases, just a request for the case conference had made it possible for the opposing counsel to give consent to an agreement precluding the requirements of the case conferences altogether. It also helped the litigators to move to the motions which are being heard by the court now. 

The Current Situation

In August 2020, the courts of Canada expanded the list of affairs that could be heard, which includes the pre-trial conferences and the civil practice courts. The courts have also expanded the list of the documents that could be submitted online. As the country is slowly getting back to the normal, procedural deadlines and limitation periods should start to run again. 

While the COVID 19 pandemic has compelled us to learn a new meaning of the word normalcy, there is no doubt that the lawyers of De Bousquet PC Mississauga have managed to weather an unprecedented storm in an absolutely stunning way. With the adaptive use of the advanced technologies, it has been possible for the lawyers to protect, as well as advance, the legal interests of their clients. The pandemic has also hastened the modernization of the courts. There is no doubt that the lawyers would make it out of this pandemic unscathed and even stronger than before.

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