What changes should be made to family law?
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67% in favour out of 12 votes
Edmonton Region, Alberta
I bet 90% of legal aid cases went over their allotted hours due to voluminous emails that likely did not accomplish much.2 7 months ago
Instant communication brings about many efficiencies, but is absolutely awful in the context of highly charged emotional issues, or for people who have difficult times with emotional management.
Plus, it drives up costs for everyone. Counsel can be driven off a file from the sheer amount of messages transmitted. And because the communication is instant, you often get the unfiltered opinions of others that, in the old days, benefited from sober thought when you had to take greater effort to send a letter and lick a stamp.
So this is a controversial opinion. Maybe food for thought, though. Should there be limits in place for the use of emails? Like they can be used for important court steps - service of materials, exchange of financial disclosure, providing offers. But have an option that parties may insist upon regular correspondence be delivered in other ways. That is already an option, to be fair, but I'm thinking of generally a better culture shift that can be reinforced.
I'll say that docket has really brought about a culture shift in how behaviour was changed. Ambush applications no longer a thing, there has needed to be better manners and discussion on files. This is all good.
On the topic, I think it would also be nice if mean-spirited emails received from a self-rep or an opposite counsel could have a better mechanism. I do not enjoy having to send emails to my client that are meant to harass him or her, but erring on the side that they should see everything. Maybe we get a rule saying we can delete emails that are calculated to cause grief or distress. We then reply saying the email is being deleted per rule 12.435 or whatever. This of course could be abused too, but at least you would maintain an option to deliver things in alternate ways.
We have communication protocols for parents where we state they can't have more than 1 email a day, no more than one topic per email, no more than 100 words, no replies within 3 hours etc. A lot of this would do good on our files too.
I appreciate in capable counsel's hands no rules are needed. And hard cases make bad law. I just think it is worth throwing out to the group here what the pulse is: are emails overall good for the profession? Or overall not-so-good?