Bob Ambrogi: Ontario Court Lays Down the Law on Technology Competence and Video Proceedings

Extract from Bob Ambrogi’s article “Ontario Court Lays Down the Law on Technology Competence and Video Proceedings”

An Ontario judge has laid down the law on technology competence, ruling in no uncertain terms that every lawyer has a duty to keep pace with changing technology, and that a lawyer’s discomfort with new technologies — in this case, video depositions — is no excuse for reverting to pre-pandemic methods.

“With the current pace of change, everyone has to keep learning technology,” wrote Justice Frederick L. Myers of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. “Counsel and the court alike have a duty of technological competency in my respectful view.”

The ruling is significant beyond the immediate dispute in which it was issued. Until now, neither the Law Society of Ontario nor any Ontario court decision had expressly imposed a duty of technological competence on Ontario lawyers.

In 2019, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada added technology competence to its Model Code of Professional Conduct. While several provinces and territories have adopted that rule, Ontario is not one of them. (See, Duty of Tech Competence Comes to Canada.)

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