Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice
Ontario Landlord and Tenant Tribunal
Videoconferencing has generated ambivalence in the legal community. Some have heralded its promise of unprecedented access to justice, expecialy for geographicaly remote communities. Others, however, have questioned whether videoconferencing undermines fairness. The authors explore the impl'cations of videoconferencing through the case study of the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Tribunal, which is one of the busiest adjudicative bodies in Canada. This anaysis hig hghts concerns both with videoconferendng in princp4 and in practice. While such concerns traditionally have been the province of public administration, the authors argue that a tribunals allocation of resources and the suffidengy of its budget are also core concerns of administrative law. Administrative law reaches beyond conventional doctrines of procedural fairness on the one hand and substantive rationakit on the other. How the legislature structures andfunds decision-making bodies is notjust a matter of poiticalpreference but also of legal sufficeny. The common law, the Chartero f Rights, and unwritten constitutionalprincipless uch as the rule of law and access to justice allprovide potential constraints both on governments and tribunals as to the organization and conduct of adjudicative hearings, espedaly in settings like the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal, where the nghts of vulnerable people are at stake, While a challenge to the videoconferencing practices of the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal has yet to be brought, the authors conclude that eventually the intersection of tribunal resources with the fairness and reasonableness of that tribunal's decision-making will reach the courts. How the courts resolve these challenges may represent the next frontier of administrative law.
Sossin, Lorne and Yetnikoff, Zimra, "I Can See Clearly Now: Videoconference Hearings and the Legal Limit on how Tribunals Allocate Resources" Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 25.2 (2007): 247-272.
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