With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to stay away from crowds and keeping them at home, remote operations and streaming technology to stay in touch, with legal practices like Donich Law offering legal consultations online for clients.
Nova Scotia’s provincial government took notes, and decided to launch their own eCourt pilot program, the first of its kind in Canada. The program was launched earlier, in July 2020, with the goal of providing easier access to the province’s courts for dealing with and resolving family legal issues.
According to a statement from the province of Nova Scotia, the program allows for a platform where people can seek legal counsel, with real-time engagement and discussion, as well as online exchanges with judges in order to have proper legal dispute resolution. Reportedly, it’s the first online judicial dispute resolution service operating in Canada.
In a news release regarding the matter, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mark Furey stated that this new eCourt service will be great for the legal industry in Canada, for law firms like Donich Law and the public, as it provides faster and more convenient access to resolutions for those dealing with family legal issues like divorce, child custody or spousal or child support issues.
Nova Scotia said that the eCourt is also a good option for those looking for an alternative to in-person court process, the traditional method, which can be heated and confrontational for some people.
Moreover, the online platform also provides better support for people who need to make major adjustments to their schedules to attend a court hearing in person, such as having to arrange for things like childcare, time off from work, and/or transportation.
Nova Scotia touted the features of the program, which included things like electronic filing, exchange of motions, affidavits, and other important court documents, on top of the expected features of virtual conferencing and the creation and logging of electronic records of any proceedings.
For people interested in the program, the Nova Scotia government put up an official website for it with additional information, made with the cooperation of several legal organizations in the province, like the Canadian Bar Association’s Nova Scotia chapter.