Windsor Law professor Jasminka Kalajdzic’s expertise and contributions to class action research and policy continue to grow. She was one of two principal researchers on the Law Commission of Ontario’s (LCO) class action project. The final report, Class Actions: Objectives, Experience, and Reforms was released on July 17 and concludes an intensive 24-month process in which the LCO consulted with over 130 stakeholders across Ontario’s justice system. The report is the first independent, evidence-based and comprehensive review of class actions in Ontario since the enactment of the Class Proceedings Act (CPA) in 1993. Since that time, class actions have grown dramatically in volume, complexity and impact in Ontario and across Canada. The report makes 47 recommendations to reform the CPA and related policies surrounding themes of access to justice, judicial economy, and deterrence.
The recommendations address a broad cross-section of issues, including the process for initiating a class action, certification, settlement approval and distribution, counsel fees, costs, reporting on class actions and appeals. In many areas, the LCO concluded that the existing statutory provisions and/or judicial interpretations of those provisions are sound and should not be changed.
“We were committed from the outset to make this project consultative and non-partisan. In addition to our own research, we conducted 135 interviews and studied thirty written submissions. There were many competing views. Our recommendations aim to improve the class action system as a whole and to promote its primary goals of access to justice, deterrence and judicial efficiency,” says Windsor Law professor and LCO principal researcher, Jasminka Kalajdzic.
Windsor Law alum and Chair of Law Commission of Ontario, Andrew Pinto ‘93, states: “Class actions have become one of the most high-profile and far-reaching legal procedures in the Canadian justice system. The LCO report is the first comprehensive and independent review of Ontario’s Class Proceedings Act over 25 years. The report’s 47 recommendations represent a necessary and important update to this very significant piece of legislation.”
Class action lawsuits can often involve thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of potential litigants and millions – if not billions – of dollars in compensation. They can have a significant impact on the general public, corporate or government behaviour and reputations, public policy and the justice system. It is fair to describe class actions as one of the most high-profile and far-reaching legal procedures in the Canadian justice system.
Professor Kalajdzic joined the Faculty of Law in 2009 after twelve years in private practice as a civil litigator. She currently holds the position of Associate Professor, researching class actions and other access to justice issues at Windsor Law. “As a faculty, we are very proud of Professor Kalajdzic’s work on class actions which will have a significant impact on the field,” says Laverne Jacobs, Associate Dean (Research & Graduate Studies) at Windsor Law.
The LCO is Ontario’s leading law reform agency, it aims to provide independent, balanced and authoritative advice on some of Ontario’s most complex and far-reaching legal policy issues. This project was supported by a distinguished group of academics, justice system leaders, and class action practitioners.