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This article was published 14/3/2019 (437 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The limit for actions in small claims court would rise to $15,000 and provincial court judges would be required to retire at age 75 under legislation introduced by the Progressive Conservative government Thursday.
Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said the proposed Courts Modernization Act would also require the Court of Queen's Bench and Court of Appeal to file annual reports — as is now done by the Provincial Court of Manitoba.
The bill would also streamline the appointment process for provincial court judges, masters and judicial justices of the peace.
It would establish a judicial appointment committee to receive applications for those seeking to become provincial judges. The committee "must make efforts to ensure that the pool of candidates reflects the diversity of Manitoba," according to the bill.
Cullen said increasing the small claims limit would help courts focus on more serious matters, while allowing more Manitobans to deal with their small claims quickly and at less cost.
"Hopefully, they have quicker access to that particular system as opposed to waiting, going through another court," he said after introducing the bill.
The proposed change to small claims is based on the findings of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission's February 2017 report, which said Manitoba's monetary limit was among the lowest in the country.
With the new mandatory retirement age, provincial judges will be bound by the same rule that applies to Court of Appeal and Queen's Bench justices, Cullen said. He said no Manitoba provincial judge is currently over the age of 75.
The new retirement age provision would also apply to masters of the Court of Queen's Bench.
The government said it consulted with the chief judge of Manitoba's provincial court and the chief justices of the province's superior courts before developing the proposed changes.
Another new measure would allow judges with both Court of Queen's Bench and the Court of Appeal to block a proceeding by a "vexatious litigant" without having the province's attorney general sign off on the decision.
"We have a number of people who keep coming back (to court) in a lot of cases for the same litigation, same court process," the minister said. "So this gives the opportunity for judges to actually decide if this is a vexatious litigation. They have the opportunity to basically throw that particular case out of court."
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.