Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

Use of Technology in Family Law Matters

Province/Territory
Ontario

Type of service
Use of Technology in Family Law Matters

Services offered
A wide variety of technological aids are used on an on-going basis in Ontario’s court rooms. The availability of this equipment varies from region to region and among court locations.

Technology currently in use across Ontario’s courts includes:

Desktop computers, Document cameras, Closed Circuit Television/Monitors, Video Projectors, Portable Projection Screens, VHS and DVD units, Blu Ray, Audio CD/Cassette players, Audio amplifiers/speakers, Display connections for laptop/multimedia, Video Conferencing, In-court printers, Internet connections (external ISP), Electronic display boards, Multi-client interpreter devices, Digital recording, assisted listening devices, Mobile IT Carts (enhanced and standard configuration available) includes: projector, document camera, laptop, DVD/ VHS, printer and portable sound system). As part of the continual modernization of Ontario’s court, in some court locations, select courtrooms will soon have fixed IT installations that include most of the equipment noted as part of the Mobile IT Carts and with the addition of a Blu Ray player.

Pilot or ongoing service
Many technology services are available on an ongoing basis.

Department responsible
The Justice Technology Services Division, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is responsible for the procurement of equipment, the management of vendor agreements and the provision of technical advice.

How to access this service
In courtrooms with fixed IT equipment, Counsel, Defense and other authorized individuals (e.g. police, self-represented litigants) have direct access to the equipment for their use. Where Mobile IT Carts are in use, the equipment must be reserved in advance of the court date to ensure availability. Local practices will define the staff representative responsible for managing this process. Approval from the presiding Judicial Official for the use of IT equipment may also be required.

Location(s)
The availability of this technology equipment varies from region to region and among court locations.
[ Service(s) offered ]

Language(s)
Provided in English and French where mandated.

Publications/information
A Guide to Procedures in Family Court, June 2010 is on-line at: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/guides/fc/default.asp

Costs
Most technology aid/equipment and infrastructure is procured and owned by the Ontario Government. If extra equipment is required the cost may be borne by the government or the litigants, depending on the circumstances.

Governing legislation/legislative authority
The Justice Technology Services Service Management Branch has developed operational policies for the use of technology in the courtroom. Use of any technology during court proceedings require presiding Judicial Approval.
Rules 2(5), 14(8) and 17(16), (17) of the Family Law Rules outline the uses of telephone or videoconferences in family matters.

Contact person(s)
Peter Theodoropoulos
Manager, Field Services
Service Management Branch
Justice Technology Services
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

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