The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the legal community to rethink their ways of doing things. It has also forced a long overdue modernization process and led to an acceleration of innovation within various institutions, notably with the adoption of measures and technologies to deliver justice remotly.
“You always have to be in tune with society,” says the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. In this conversation with Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Dean of the Civil Law Section at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, the Chief Justice discusses the place of innovation and creativity in the judicial system. Above all, Justice Wagner notes, judicial actors have to be attentive to the evolution of society, which may require a willingness to use the new tools and an openness to new ways of doing things. He explores how innovation is a natural part of making sure that people understand and appreciate the judicial system. “It’s about having the will and a sense of open-mindedness,” he says. “I think at all levels, we can be innovative.”
A recent report from the Canadian Bar Association echoes the Chief Justice’s remarks by proposing a repositioning of the Canadian justice system in order to modernize it so as to meet the needs of all stakeholders. According to its authors, “a long-awaited new paradigm in the digital age that ultimately realigns the justice system with our digital reality [will be] the work of a generation, integrating tech and determining policy”. It poses a major challenge for the legal community, but it also gives lawyers an opportunity to propose new and innovative solutions.