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Time was once a friend of Justice. The process for the settlement of civil disputes was largely focused on the trial, which was efficient and managed by experienced lawyers and judges.

Time is no longer a friend of Justice. Excessive delays caused by oversophisticated processes and a complex system focused on documentary and oral discovery have brought the trial itself into disrepute. Because of the failure to meet realistic time and cost limitations, lawyers are viewed as untrustworthy and self-serving, where they and judges were once viewed with admiration and awe.

If the civil justice system is to survive robustly into the future, complexity will be diminished, timing will be fixed, outcomes will be more predictable and costs will be directly related to outcomes.

Toronto lawyer John Campion reflects on how trials can be adapted at www.lexpert.ca. Follow @Lexpert on Twitter.

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