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La justice est peut-être aveugle mais pas le public
Quand l'on voit l'acharnement employé par les avocats à refusé obstinément de dédommager les victimes des erreurs qu'ils ont commises ou de celles dont leurs clients ont déjà admises, il devient opportun de rappeler le message de la madame la juge Rosalie Abella de la Cour d'appel de l'Ontario, dont les propos furent rapportés dans le Toronto Star du 30 octobre 1999.

Toronto Star, samedi 30 octobre 1999

Judge blames lawyers’ behaviour for low confidence in legal system

'Justice may be blind but the public is not'

By Tracey Tyler
Legal Affairs Reporter

The public is fed up as never before with a legal system that has become too complicated and costly and is run by lawyers focused on wealth, one of Ontario's top judges says.

The public's disaffection stems in part from a waning professionalism among lawyers, says Madam Justice Rosalie Abella of the Ontario Court of Appeal. Many have been caught up in clinging to riches accumulated in the 1980s, she suggested.

And they've been "seduced" by the idea that clients are protected by court processes that allow trials to drag on for years, she said.

"Justice may be blind, but the public is not," Abella told a meeting of Law Society of Upper Canada benchers. "There are many out there who are watching the justice parade with growing concern for the quality of the floats."

"We cannot keep telling the public that this increasingly incomprehensible, complicated process is in their interests and for their benefit, because they are not buying it anymore."

Abella was speaking at an Oct. 14 planning session of the law society's governors.

Economic pressures and a misplaced preoccupation with rules and legal process have caused the profession to lose sight of the ideals of justice and the public interest, she argued.

In the criminal courts, she said, those rules are a necessary part of protecting an accused person from the "overwhelming power" of the state, but it's different in civil courts.

Mediation and "alternative dispute mechanisms," hailed as speedy alternatives to protracted Lawsuits, "are themselves turning into procedural mimics of the court system" just as costly or complex, she added.

"People want their day in court, not their years. The public does not believe it should take years to decide where their children should live, whether their employer should have fired them, or whether their accident was compensable."

The public's views are affecting lawyers' opinions of themselves. "I would argue that the intensity of the public's disaffection is now so palpable that it has started to affect the profession's own perception of its professionalism."

Abella suggested corrective steps, including studying the effectiveness of the articling process and bar admission course, making sure the legal profession mirrors a diverse society, and ensuring that law-firm culture allows members a normal life that will enhance the system's humanity.


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