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Klees call for action on judge shortage

By Martin Derbyshire, Staff Writer
Nov 1, 2006

Frank Klees says something must be done about huge backlog in family court.

The Oak Ridges MPP asked Attorney General Michael Bryant to address the issue during question period in the Ontario legislature Wednesday after a call from Richmond Hill resident Rehana Sumar.

Ms Sumar claims waiting for a judge to hear motions once a week in family court has cost her sister, currently going through a divorce case in Newmarket, dozens of hours and thousands of dollars.

Ms Sumar said she has sat alongside her sister for the past two weeks as she has waited to get her case in front of a judge. She has yet to have her motion heard because there are hundreds of people waiting and very few judges to deal with the backlog.

Her sister has needed a lawyer present all day long, costing her thousands in legal fees.

"There are 200 people there every Wednesday for 50 different cases and one judge," she said. "It's a mess."

Mr. Klees suggested the current government has mishandled the justice file and demanded Mr. Bryant look into the situation.

"The government needs to respond," he said before entering the legislature Wednesday. "If it's a matter of the number of judges, then they must appoint more judges. If it's a matter of mismanagement of trials or scheduling, then they must ensure the matter is dealt with. If it’s happening in Newmarket, then it's happening everywhere."

When questioned inside the legislature, Mr. Bryant said Premier Dalton McGuinty's government has appointed more provincial court judges than at any time.

Without interfering in the specific case, he also promised to look into Ms Sumar’s situation.

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