March 14, 2019
MANITOBA INTRODUCES CHANGES TO MODERNIZE AND STREAMLINE COURT PROCESSES
The Manitoba government is introducing legislation that would help make the province’s courts system more transparent, fair and accessible for Manitobans, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“This legislation puts forward some common-sense changes that would make our courts more effective, more responsive to the needs of Manitobans and more accountable to citizens,” said Cullen. “It would also implement a simpler process to make judicial appointments and set a mandatory retirement age for Manitoba judges.”
The court modernization act sets out the following changes:
- increasing the value of matters that can be dealt with at small claims court from $10,000 to $15,000;
- requiring the Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal to file annual reports, as is currently done by the Provincial Court of Manitoba;
- setting a mandatory retirement age of 75 for provincial court judges and masters of the Court of Queen’s Bench; and
- streamlining the appointment process for provincial court judges, masters and judicial justices of the peace.
The proposed change to small claims is based on the findings of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission’s February 2017 report, which noted Manitoba’s monetary limit is among the lowest in Canada. The minister noted this would help courts focus on more serious matters, while allowing more Manitobans to deal with their small claims quickly and at less cost.
Several other provisions of this legislation were requested by the judiciary. The province had ongoing discussions with the chief judge of Manitoba’s provincial court and the chief justices of Manitoba’s superior courts as the legislation was developed.
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