“You don’t get to see the person, you don’t get to see the judge, and you do lose something without being able to read the facial expressions and make eye contact … For my clients, at least they have a lawyer that has the technology if they don’t, but the self-represented parties are a big concern for the court system right now.” Bayly Guslits
“The pandemic has propelled Ontario’s justice system into the 21st century, with video and audio conference calls, email exchanges and electronic documents replacing many antiquated systems, but it’s also leaving certain portions of the population out of the loop, some lawyers warn.
While many are applauding the courts’ foray away from in-person hearings and paper filing, others warn that the technology is a double-edged sword that is most likely to negatively impact people with a low income, who don’t have access to reliable internet or phone minutes.”
“I think it requires some advance planning, lawyers getting in touch with clients ahead of time making sure that the technology works … You have to make sure people have access to a phone, whether it’s a pay phone or a friend’s or family member’s phone. You definitely have to plan in advance,” said Guslits.