I had an in person attendance in Court for the first time since I can remember dating back to when the Pandemic shut down the Courts. During the Pandemic, and afterwards, most Courts have opted for virtual attendances. This has lead to increased efficiency for our Courts. They can do more, with less resources. It also translates into considerable savings for clients and self represented litigants. They don’t have to pay for their lawyer’s travel time, or any mileage, parking etc. Clients and litigants also don’t have to travel either. They can log in to Court from the comfort of their own home. That is more comfortable, and less intimidating for clients and litigants.
But this Court (in Guelph) required an in person attendance for the hearing of an Application under the Insurance Act as it related to a catastrophic car accident case. It was nice to be back in Court, in person.
A few observations after a long lay off from in person Court appearances.
As a lawyer, you take it for granted that you appear robbed in front of a Judge, while litigants and clients are in plain clothes. The robes really make you stand out. This has its positives, and negatives.
Because I was wearing my litigation robes, I was approached by two separate people in the Courthouse who were looking for directions, and also looking for legal advice; and in turn, looking for a lawyer.
As a robbed lawyer, in the Courthouse, you become a part of the production so to say. You wouldn’t see a gowned up lawyer anywhere else but a Courthouse. The robes signal to the world that you are a lawyer, and that they are in a Courthouse where laws get made.
Being asked for legal advice, or being asked whether or not I could help a stranger with their case was not odd. It kinda happens all of the time once people find out that you’re a lawyer. Everyone seems to have a hypothetical question regarding a “friend’s” legal problem which they want solved, or some tips on how to manage the situation. But, it had been a long time since that happened randomly inside of a Courthouse because it had been so long since I needed to attend at Court in person.