More judges may not be the only solution to ease the backlog in our courts

The reason for the backlog in the courts, causing cases to be thrown out, is the shortage of Judges, according to the legal system.
One solution would be to have more dispute cases handled by mediation and arbitration. This way disputes could be handled by people knowledgeable in the area of the dispute.
Several insurance companies are using this method, for the betterment of all.
I was involved on a case where I placed some furniture, belonging to my son, in a storage locker in Alix. They had a six month special rate. A youth met me at the yard where I paid the fee and I never thought of it again.
Two years later when my son went to get his furniture, it was gone. There was nothing on the storage walls saying who the owner was, just a phone number.
When asked for an explanation in writing as to where the furniture was, Jody Derocher of JSR Storage and Holdings Inc. of Red Deer said he was the owner and that they never invoice.
Mr. Derocher said it was up to me to contact them to make payments. I have never heard of that method of doing business. Mr. Derocher also said he had given the contents of my locker to charities in Alix.
When contacted, neither of the managers of the charities mentioned by Mr. Derocher had received any furniture from him.
I issued a small claims summons. In pretrial, Mr. Derocher offered a settlement of about on quarter of what my son had paid for the furniture, saying it had depreciated while in the locker.
My argument was that I had put the contents in the storage locker for safe keeping, and not for sale. I felt the contents should have been treated as an insurance claim, where ‘stolen goods’ are settled on at replacement cost basis, not depreciated value.
If contacted, I would have been happy to pay the rental and late fees for the contents of the locker, as there was also personal items that cannot be replaced, which caused my son a great deal of stress.
When I went to court, the Judge advised that nothing that went on at pretrial could be used in court, and we were not there to settle amounts.
The judgement went in favour of Mr. Derocher. He got the contents of my locker, plus rental fees for two years, even though he did not invoice me nor give proof, he kept my contents in my locker for two years without payment.
Mr. Derocher produced a paper, which I had not seen or signed, stating that he could dispose of goods 15 days after payment was due.
In court, the Judge did not give reasoning why he made his judgement, and when asked he said, ‘I have made my judgement’.
I felt I should have had a reason, so I could have started an appeal. While this judgement pales compared to the Judge who came up with ‘The Cure for Rape’, it has caused a great deal of hurt and stress.
Divorce cases could also be settled by mediation. A friend told me they went with a mediator in his divorce and they were both happy with the settlement, unlike his friend’s divorce where the only people that were happy were the lawyers involved.
In William Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part II, Act IV, their suggested solution to their problem was ‘the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’. As we still have lawyers it could be because the ‘Lawyers Joke Writers Association’ have a strong lobby group.
Of course, if we didn’t have lawyers then we would not have any politicians and that would be a shame.
Sid W. Morris
Alix, Ab.

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