The Quebec Bar and the Quebec Ombudsman wants to make it easier for alleged victims of sexual assault to gain access to the legal system and are calling on the provincial government to follow in the footsteps of the overwhelming majority of Canadian provinces and eliminate the prescription period for civil actions in cases of sexual assault.
Why it matters: “It is necessary to make restorative justice accessible which means ensuring that victims of sexual assault can exercise their rights in all confidence and liberty and in the simplest manner possible.”
The Young Bar of Montreal will provide free legal advice by telephone this weekend. Volunteer lawyers and notaries will be available to answer questions on a wide range of subjects, from consumer to family law to labour to the management of estates.
People can call the hotline at 1 844-779-6232 on Saturday, October 14th and Sunday, October 15th from 9:00 to 16:30.
“The Clinic is an efficient and accessible service for all that allows us to respond to the growing needs of the community when it comes to justice,” said Sophia Rossi, president of the Young Bar of Montreal, adding that she hopes to offer this service more frequently. The Bar has 5,000 members, composed of lawyers with ten years and less of practice.
The 29th edition of the “Legal Helpline” is an initiative conducted in partnership with the Barreau du Québec and the Centre d’accès à l’information Juridique (CAIJ).
“The activity, which is very much appreciated by our fellow Quebeckers, provides access to justice and, year after year, has proven to be an event not to be missed,” said Paul-Matthieu Grondin, president of the Québec Bar.
Quebec, once a pioneer that lead the movement towards greater government transparency, is now among the least transparent provinces in Canada after successive provincial governments introduced more than 150 legislative exemptions that undermined the province’s access to information legislation, according to a recently published comprehensive report by Quebec’s Commission d’accès à l’information.
With Quebec ranking 10th out of 14 jurisdictions in Canada, and 57th in the world, behind Honduras and Romania, the Quebec government should overhaul the provincial access to information legislation to compel all public bodies, even those partially financed by the provincial government, to be subjected to the access to information law, noted the 214-page, five-year report that issued 67 recommendations.
A cultural change that emphasizes collaboration between all players of Quebec’s criminal justice system is the only way to ensure that costly and unwieldly megatrials do not end up in fiascos, according to a well-received comprehensive report on multi-defendant trials.
The long-awaited 180-page report also urges the Quebec government to provide more resources to the province’s Director of Penal and Criminal Prosecutions (DPCP), recommends that Quebec crown prosecutors limit the number of accused and concentrate their efforts on criminals most involved in serious crimes, advises the creation of a permanent forum for stakeholders to share best practices, proposes that police and prosecutors take management training, and calls on judges to use the powers they have more effectively. All told, the report makes 51 wide-ranging recommendations.
Quebec’s justice system will require more money and human resources, need to make more use of technological advances to efficiently deal with routine appearances, and prioritize and encourage timely resolution of cases to be able to curb the unprecedented delays in criminal proceedings, according to the Chief Justice of the Court of Quebec Elizabeth Corte.
“It’s been a long time since we have been talking about this issue, and perhaps the time has come to say that we have done everything we could — and to improve the way things are done, perhaps we have to realize that we have to inject a bit of money, resources, and technology,” said Justice Corte.
An online dispute resolution pilot project to resolve small claims court cases is scheduled to be launched this fall by the Quebec government thanks to efforts by a university research group that wants to usher the justice system into the digital age.
The alternative dispute resolution open source and interoperable software program is the latest innovative offering developed by the University of Montreal’s Cyberjustice Laboratory, a unique and world-class research organization that strives to put information technology at the service of the judicial system in order to make it more accessible, more efficient and more affordable.
“Access to justice is the driving force behind all of our work,” said law professor Karim Benyekhlef, the head of the Cyberjustice Laboratory, who was involved in the world’s first experiment in online resolution back in the mid-nineties.
An absence of clear rules in the nomination process of Quebec adjudicators allows for partisan influence and compromises their independence.
A decade after reforming the Code of Civil Procedure based on the principle of proportionality, Quebec intends to overhaul it once again in order to establish a more rapid, more efficient and less costly civil justice.
The use of contempt of court in civil proceedings will likely diminish over time as judges begin to exercise discretionary powers to redress abuse of process.
After a handful of decisions seemingly leaned towards a permissive approach in securities class actions, the pendulum seems to have swung back.
Governments are under growing pressure to remove barriers to accessing its public records, and some are embracing the open data movement.