Editorial: Courting disaster with frivolous cases

Editorial: Courting disaster with frivolous cases by Edmonton Journal, November 13, 2012
If justice delayed is justice denied, then something surely must be done to reverse the spiralling culture of delay in civil and criminal trials in Canada.
The review report — prepared by a committee representing the judiciary, court personnel and lawyers in private and government practice — favours changes to demystify the often-baffling legal processes faced by people who can’t afford lawyers. But it also calls for “new tools” to help judges rein in proceedings that unjustifiably consume the court’s time and resources. This is perilous territory, of course. Nothing should be done to subvert the fundamental right to an impartial and fair hearing before the courts. But if justice delayed is justice denied then something surely must be done to reverse the spiralling culture of delay in both civil and criminal trials across the land. … The review report issued this week says many self-represented litigants bring multiple proceedings and motions concerning the same subject matter, or pursue legal action that has no chance of success. “The federal courts system can no longer be seen just as a tool for parties to litigation to advance their ends with few restraints,” the report says. “Overuse of scarce judicial resources in one case can potentially deprive other cases of those resources and inflict damage on the public purse.” The report calls for “a principle of proportionality” to be introduced into the federal courts rules that, applied intelligently and sensitively, should have no detrimental effects on those who conduct their litigation reasonably. It also recommends that judges be freed to decide on their own whether conduct or documents are clearly abusive, rather than wait for one of the parties to complain. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: Confidentiality Agreements, The Problem: Confidentiality agreements in lawsuit settlements can be harmful, even deadly, to the public ]

This entry was posted in Case Related. Bookmark the permalink.