According to Professor Louise Bélanger-Hardy, citizens' financial losses are accentuated by legal delays.
According to Mr. Bélanger-Hardy, the delay of several years in this case has become usual today since we are still experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. She adds that the delays are explained by the accumulation of cases which have not been heard and by the fact that there is no rule on the duration of civil cases, unlike criminal trials.
In addition to additional costs, the most important consequence of delays on litigants, c& #x27;is that Canadians simply have less access to justice.
A quote from Louise Bélanger-Hardy, full professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa
The labor shortage x27;work and the lack of staff also have significant repercussions on legal delays, recalls the professor. There is no one to hear the causes and everyone is waiting for these reasons, she emphasizes.
One of the directors of the Society of Litigators, an organization which brings together more than 6,000 Canadian jurists campaigning for a better justice system, recalls that there are 18 vacant judge positions at the Superior Court of Ontario, a problem that she describes as chronic.
It is inexcusable to have vacant judge positions while our courts are understaffed and qualified candidates exist.
A quote from Kirsten Crain, Director at the Mooters' Society
Mr. Kirsten Crain adds that excessive delays also persist since the courts are not required to count or list them. According to her, the provinces cannot remedy this, because they have no clear vision of the extent of the problem.
Moreover, a study by the Society of Litigators published in June 2023 reveals that it currently takes nearly a year and a half for a motion lasting more than two hours to be heard by a judge in Toronto, and more than three years for a trial lasting more than five days. However, the organization did not take into account the delays at the Ottawa Court of Justice.
The director of the Society of Litigators recalls that there are not only significant delays before being able to obtain a hearing date, but also in obtaining a decision. Even after completing the hearings of a trial, it can take between six months and a year before the judge makes a decision, which is extremely long, emphasizes Me Fear.
When contacted by Radio-Canada, the Office of the Attorney General of Ontario did not respond to questions about what it planned to do to remedy legal delays in the province.
Mr. Ebelé deplores the psychological repercussions of the wait in which he is plunged. Things are dragging on for the simple reason that there are people who blockades for economic interests, without caring [for the victims].
As long as this file is not closed, we still have a sword of Damocles over our heads […] and we are still in mourning.
A quote from Jean-Pierre Ebelé, widower
The Gatineau resident wonders why there are no safeguards in civil cases. According to him, delays should be required, for example by requiring the submission of one of the second-expertise reports, which was executed more than a year ago in his file. As long as this report is not delivered, we cannot evolve, he sighs.
Me Louise Bélanger-Hardy points out that solutions exist to reduce delays in civil justice. According to her, it would be essential to provide more funding to the justice system as a whole in order to see an increase in court staff. She also believes that rules should be imposed on the length of trials, although this type of protocol is difficult to apply.
Also, better use of technology could also greatly help. Effective electronic procedures were developed before and during the pandemic, such as electronic filing of legal documents or virtual hearings.
In the absence immediate solutions, Jean-Pierre Ebelé remains hopeful that justice will one day be done. For him, the settlement of his case will be a release. It can't replace a human being, […] but there will be some comfort in knowing that people have been found guilty, he confides.
- Camille Kasisi-Monet (View profile)