Pandemic-related changes to court system might become permanent: top judge

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OTTAWA — Canada’s top judge says some of the innovations that courts have embraced during the COVID-19 pandemic might become permanent.

At a news conference today, Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner says the justice system was not prepared for a pandemic emergency and the courts were forced to look at different ways of working.

The Supreme Court recently began holding hearings via videoconference to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The high court has long embraced technology by livestreaming proceedings on the court’s website.

However, the new virtual hearings took place much like an online business meeting, with participants — including judges, lawyers and observers — connecting through the internet.

Wagner says the experiment, despite some expected glitches, was a “resounding success.”