Making Courts More User Friendly With New Signs



    McGuinty Government Responding To Civil Justice Reform Report

    BARRIE, ON, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - The Barrie courthouse will receive new
accessible and bilingual entrance signage, part of a province-wide project to
improve access to justice for the public by making Ontario's court services
easier to find.
    The government will consult with local judges, lawyers and courthouse
users to help determine signage needs in each courthouse. The government will
also consult with experts on accessibility issues and organizations
representing people with disabilities to ensure the signs meet the needs of
people with disabilities. Discussions will also be held with representatives
of the francophone community.
    The Barrie courthouse will be the first facility to receive new signs.
Best practices from the development of these signs will be applied to
courthouses across the province.
    This is in addition to the assessment of Simcoe County's current and
long-term court facility needs through a Facility Renewal Study, which is
expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The terms of the study are
currently being developed and will include a 25-year master plan with
recommendations for future court needs in Simcoe County.
    "We are improving our court system and making the process easier for
Ontarians who need court services," said Attorney General Chris Bentley. "We
want to make sure that when people enter a courthouse, there is no confusion
about where they are to go."
    "Improving the signs in the Barrie courthouse will enhance access to
basic information," said Barrie MPP Aileen Carroll. "The end result will be
better service and convenience and less stress for the everyday user."
    The project to make court services easier to find is part of the
government's response to a review by the Honourable Coulter Osborne. In his
report, The Civil Justice Reform Project: Summary of Findings and
Recommendations, Mr. Osborne highlighted the importance of providing better
help and information to court users.

    Disponible en français

    
                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

             ATTORNEY GENERAL IMPROVING ACCESS TO CIVIL JUSTICE
    

    Ontario is looking for input from legal associations, lawyers and judges
on how to make the civil justice system faster, simpler and less expensive.
    Attorney General Chris Bentley is travelling to communities across the
province holding focussed discussions following the release of the Civil
Justice Reform Project: Summary of Findings and Recommendations, a
commissioned report from the Honourable Coulter Osborne.
    In addition to these focussed discussions, the government is responding
to Mr. Osborne's summary report by redesigning indoor signs in courthouses to
make it easier for people, including people with disabilities, to find
courtrooms and services. Preliminary consultations have been held and further
consultations will take place with the judiciary, bar and courthouse users.
The Barrie courthouse will be the first facility to receive clearer, bilingual
signs. Best practices will then be applied as signs are replaced in
courthouses across the province.
    In November 2007, the government released Mr. Osborne's summary report
containing 81 recommendations touching on 18 areas of procedural and
substantive law, including small claims, trial management, appeals,
technology, civility, unrepresented litigants, proportionality and making
courthouses more user-friendly.
    To develop his recommendations, Mr. Osborne carried out province-wide
consultations, researched reforms in other jurisdictions, struck three
advisory committees and reviewed over 100 submissions.
    The summary report is available on the ministry's website in both French
and English at www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca.
    Public comment on the Civil Justice Reform Project: Summary of Findings
and Recommendations can be sent to attorneygeneral@ontario.ca.

    Disponible en français

    
                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Sheamus Murphy, Ministry of the Attorney
General, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785, (416) 518-1322 (cell); Brendan
Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney General, Communications Branch, (416)
326-2210

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