An access to justice bill that will make free mediation mandatory and arbitration automatic for cases under $5,000 took the Quebec legal community by surprise as it also unexpectedly opens the door for notaries to be appointed to the bench of provincial courts.
Bill 8, tabled by the Quebec government this month, aims to curb long delays afflicting small claims courts, implements a simplified and accelerated civil procedure for matters brought before the Court of Quebec with a value of between $15,000 and $75,000, and will compel the provincial Judicial Council to publish an annual report and be audited every five years by the Auditor General, all of which are developments viewed positively by the Quebec Bar.
“We are pleased that several provisions of Bill 8 echo requests made by the Barreau to the Justice Minister on measures that could help facilitate access to justice,” said Catherine Claveau, the bâtonnière of the Barreau du Québec. “The provisions relating to mandatory mediation and arbitration is an excellent avenue to improve access to justice and a concrete way to promote alternative methods of dispute resolution.”
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