Job Specification

Position Title:
Court and Client Representative (Irregular On-Call) - 1 Unilingual and 4 Designated Bilingual (English-French)
Job Code:
09OAD - Office Administration 09
Job ID:

Purpose of Position :

Working independently or as part of a team, and under the general direction of the responsible supervisor, the Court and Client Representative provides specialized functions that support the overall administration of the Courts in Ontario and ensures court services are delivered in an accessible, fair, timely and effective way to the public, judiciary and any/all justice participants in keeping with the division's commitment to a workplace that reflects the Ontario Public Service values in court, in the court office and at the court counter.

Duties / Responsibilities :

For multiple practice areas (criminal, civil, family, small claims and/or enforcement) in Ontario Courts and in accordance with all applicable manuals and directives:

1. Judicial Assistance:
• Prepares dockets and files in order for court to proceed
• Escorts judiciary to and from court as required
• Consults with judiciary re the docket for the day prior to court opening to ensure readiness
• Provides files and/or court documents to presiding judge
• Acts as go-between to facilitate communications between counsel and judiciary
• Responds punctually and thoroughly to requests from the judiciary

2. Court Decorum:
• Opens, recesses, resumes and closes court and arranges adjournment dates
• Ensures order and decorum are maintained in the courtroom or virtual hearing room
• Coordinates and ensures proper case flow and makes announcements over the public address system to announce the start of court, calls cases, in-custody, lawyers and witnesses
• Clears courtroom as needed or as directed by the judge and ensures courtroom is secured
• Sets up courtroom and ensures courtroom is tidy and stocked with supplies at the end of the day to be ready for the next day
• Sets out expectations at the onset of virtual hearings by providing information regarding courtroom etiquette for virtual proceedings and monitors speakers and noise levels during the proceeding

3. Jury and Witness Management:
• Coordinates and manages the jury panel and all jury related duties, including coordinating the jury selection process, remaining with and attending to the needs of sequestered juries and maintaining the requisite isolation of sequestered jurors, e.g., ensuring there is no contact with any persons including the media and manages the in-court jury selection process by calling jurors/potential jurors and coordinating requests for excusal
• Is vigilant with respect to the jury/potential jurors while in the courtroom and responds to any needs/concerns
• Swears in jurors
• Escorts, attends to, and maintains the requisite sequestering of juries, including overnight juries, as required and acts as liaison to other court services team members when they are performing these duties
• Attends to witnesses, conducts the arraignment of an accused, administers oaths and cautions and swears in witnesses with sensitivity to religious and cultural requirements schedules and swears in interpreters

4. Client Service, Support & Issue Resolution:
• Assists the public and any/all persons present in the courtroom, online and in the Court office as required and/or requested by determining the nature and scope of their needs, researching information and resources, explaining requirements/protocols, responding to issues, answering questions, providing procedural guidance, information and support (e.g., acceptability of filings) and redirecting to other correct sources
• Follows up to ensure resolution at the public counter, online, and/or via telephone
• Issues and enters documents, ensuring all documents are properly directed for service and recorded, while ensuring privacy and security
• Determines and sets dates and times for court hearings and notifies parties as required
• Performs accurate and timely data entry into computerized court case management systems
• Processes filings including current and archival files, fees, fines, etc.

5. Court Documents and Exhibits Management:
• Ensuring all documents are available for court, as applicable
• Ensures all pre- and post-court work is completed, e.g., endorses all information, prepares relevant/requested documents and orders, (distributes by electronic means) remands, and ensures accuracy and completion
• Authorizes court documents for criminal, civil and family proceedings by preparing and signing (e.g., warrants of committal, restraining orders, affidavits)
• Accepts, marks and records all exhibits submitted in court; obtains exhibits from appropriate custodian and returns exhibits each day for trial continuations
• Prepares/ensures the preparation of any required post-court documents
• Maintains and logs exhibits, ensures exhibits are securely stored and assists with exhibit management, follows exhibit management protocols; makes sure exhibits are made available for court and releases exhibits in accordance with Ministry retention schedules (e.g., appeal periods)
• Displays electronic documents/videos/exhibits during the hearing using screen sharing technology

6. Recording Proceedings and Virtual Court Technology:
• Ensures all court proceedings are documented and recorded in accordance with legislated requirements and the Rules of Procedure
• Ensures all proceedings are safeguarded, recorded, annotated and certified in accordance with legislated requirements and ministry guidelines
• Ensures the operation of and troubleshooting for various current and upcoming virtual, in-court and office technologies
• Interrupts virtual hearing when technical issues cannot be resolved quickly
• Ensures all virtual and courtroom technology, including remote appearance, court audio and video recording equipment, electronic display evidence equipment, is in working order at all times and sets-up and tests all equipment prior to court, during court and after each recess
• Supports virtual/remote hearings by coordinating and monitoring entry and exit of participants from the virtual courtroom, displaying electronic documents/exhibits, facilitating private client conversations and monitoring messages for discreet questions or comments from the parties
• Controls virtual hearing functions such as muting, unmuting, allowing participants to enter the virtual room
• Supports modernization of courts by participating in pilot projects, providing feedback on new initiatives and actively engaging in improvements to the delivery of court services (as required)
• Keeps apprised of ongoing modernization initiatives in order to use new equipment, programs or services or implement new procedures as well as to explain them in plain language to clients and the public

7. Financial Services:
• Receives and processes payouts for fines, fees, restitution and other source revenue and reconciles/ balances all accounts, e.g., month end trust and revenue accounts
• Processes invoices and prepares payments to witnesses, jurors and interpreters, and distributes trust funds
• Processes payments in and out of court, balancing cash to manual/ computerized systems, identifying and reconciling discrepancies

8. Contributions to Court and Related Operations and Services:
• Records statistical data, prepares and reviews reports from various systems
• Provides technical advice, guidance and mentorship to ministry employees on providing court services to the public and clients, both in and out of court, as experts in all front-line services and fosters a positive work environment while providing on-the-job training and peer coaching in order to optimize on the job performance
• Serves as liaison with staff in different functional areas on operational changes, addressing and resolving unusual or local issues that arise, including obtaining support in resolving system problems for specialized courtroom technology
• Provides recommendations to support the implementation of new policies or procedures or for enhancements to existing procedures for consideration by divisional and local operational working groups
• Participates in meetings and on working groups, providing input into proposed operational/procedural changes to improve the quality of the client experience and achieve service excellence

9. Performs other duties as required or assigned

Staffing and Licensing :

• Commissioner of Oaths
• Security screening check under the OPS Employment Screening Check Policy which includes a criminal record check (Criminal Records and Judicial Matters Check)
• Valid Ontario Driver's License, where required
• Availability to work on weekend and statutory holidays, where required
• Availability to work from home, where required
• Travel to other court locations and in small aircraft (as required), or when scheduled at other locations, where required
• Typing and fully programmable word processing skills to 30wpm

Knowledge :

The position requires knowledge of:

• Provincial, municipal and federal legislative requirements (e.g., Criminal Code, Child and Family Services Act, Rules of Civil Procedure, Small Claims Court Rules, the Family Rules), programs, services (e.g., lawyer's referral service), manuals, policies, processes, and procedures to interpret and apply to clients' needs, provide information, clarification and guidance to clients, verify and accept filings and exercise delegated signing authority on legal documents.

• Analytical methods and techniques to research and probe for information and determine client objectives, needs, requests or concerns; to assess situations or circumstances, and determine appropriate courses of action and to discern facts in order to detect irregularities; to interpret complex rules and procedures and communicate them to clients in a way that is both clear and concise but also comprehensive; to interpret situations and then make sound judgements or decisions based on the information gathered; to assess complaints and problems and investigate relevant factors to develop viable solutions that satisfy client needs or concerns; and to analyze trends, anomalies and problem areas and make recommendations to the supervisor to improve the provision of services locally or across the division.

• Research techniques, relevant ministry/inter-jurisdictional reference/resource tools and materials (e.g., manuals, directives, websites, etc.) and legal terminology to provide specialized guidance on services or issues and interpretation regarding the intent and content of legislation, regulation, policies, procedures, rules and to investigate and resolve issues or contentious situations which may be confidential in nature and to confirm the validity of/ complete court filings.

• Technical knowledge of specialized digital recording equipment in order to ensure the accurate recording and annotation of court proceedings, and to provide playback of proceedings upon request of the court; various court office practices and procedures to carry out functions such as archiving / retrieving files, record-keeping, writing correspondence, operating virtual/court and office technology (e.g., multi-functional devices, remote video technology, electronic evidence display equipment, screen sharing technology, digital recording devices, assistive listening devices, and child-friendly courtroom equipment) video conferencing technology to facilitate virtual hearings.

• Knowledge of ministry mandate and goals, including other divisions to explain all services which are provided from the courthouse. Court Services Division Strategic Plan, programs and services, including each business line (family, criminal, small claims, enforcement and civil) and each level of court (Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal for Ontario), to effectively act as the first point of contact to clients and appropriately triage and direct clients to available services, cover all duties of the position, both in court and at the court counter, and mentor and provide guidance to other court staff.

• Ontario Public Service customer service principles and quality service standards as well as Court Services Division service standards in order to consistently provide professional, responsive and accessible client service, handle and resolve issues and inquiries.

• Court Services Division's Professional and Respectful Workplace Initiative and Ontario Public Service policies associated with workplace discrimination, harassment and prevention; and related legislation to ensure professional and respectful behaviour at all times and workplaces free from bias, harassment and discrimination.

• Government policies and procedures related to cash handling, monthly reconciliation, and other policies/procedures related to accepting, recording, reporting and administering financial transactions.

• Third party service providers, other government programs and jurisdictions and related agencies to obtain information for clients; and to refer clients' issues for information, assistance and resolution.

Skills :

The position requires:
• Oral and written communication skills to act as liaison with senior officials and the judiciary regarding requirements/information relating to court orders and judgments and to provide concise explanations and clarification/interpretation of complex information such as the Rules, guidelines, procedures and legislation to clients, ensuring understanding; to write basic routine correspondence to clients and prepare forms and orders with a high degree of accuracy; to serve as liaison with program area staff regarding referred matters; to participate on local project teams and committees and to exchange information within the unit and other program areas regarding best practices; to provide recommendations regarding enhancements to processes or practices for consideration at divisional working groups or for divisional policy changes or to develop local policy / practices and provide on-the-job training.

• Problem-solving and analytical skills in order to respond to client's unique requests, to execute the transaction and resolve operational and technical issues related to the court technology; to provide recommendations for future divisional and local procedure changes; and to direct / triage issues within the courthouse and interpret client's requests.

• Flexibility and adaptability to meet the needs of a broad, diverse client base whose service support and information needs vary substantially; to respond promptly to client needs and problems; to work in a variety of court environments and practice areas, in court, in the court office or at the court counter, often with short notice; to shift focus regularly and manage time to perform a range of functions simultaneously.

• Collaboration, team building and mentoring skills to provide leadership, technical advice, guidance and coaching to in and out of court staff; and to participate in developing a motivated, cohesive team focused on achieving high quality court services.

• Technical skills such as operating digital recording devices (including checking microphones for recording levels, ensuring proper operation of the equipment and an ability to troubleshoot audio problems related to in-court audio equipment and components); specialized videoconferencing and virtual/remote hearing technology (ZOOM, Microsoft Teams, etc.,) other courtroom technology (display systems, etc.,); office software such as Microsoft Office 365 (Microsoft Teams, One Drive, Word, etc.,); operational and case management systems and the Internet to access and retrieve information from databases; and to prepare correspondence and to conduct research.

• Ability to work independently to perform duties under minimal supervision, often in environments where there is no supervisor on site.

• Ability to apply client service standards to consistently provide an optimum level of service to clients and be fully responsive to their needs; courtesy, professionalism, tact, diplomacy and a positive attitude to consistently serve clients/justice participants/colleagues/management with professionalism and respect when providing information and services and resolving problems, complaints and concerns; active listening, empathy, sensitivity, emotional intelligence, mediation skills and patience to remain composed, convey understanding and respond to emotional, distressed, irate or confused/frustrated clients in a respectful manner when resolving difficult situations; and a respectful and inclusive approach when addressing people's needs for accommodation in a private and dignified manner, with an emphasis on full participation in all aspects of the courts services program.

• Public speaking skills to address small to large groups of individuals during virtual or courtroom proceedings; maintain court order and decorum; coordinate jury activities in court and during jury selection; and to guide or lead clients and public to the appropriate service within the courthouse and / or to where they are required in court.

• Accurate keyboarding skills in order to prepare and complete documentation and annotate court proceedings, often within tight timelines.

• Political acuity to identify situations and occurrences with political or media relations overtones and respond in a manner that does not compromise service and/or problem resolution.

• Attention to detail to ensure that forms and other legal documents are completed fully and accurately and that service and legal requirements are met by the client and reviewed against the court and business requirements.

• Planning and organizational skills to organize and prioritize workload; and to respond to unforeseen demands.

• The ability to make decisions based on facts/information provided in reviewing and signing default judgments or other orders.

• Arithmetic skills to complete mathematical calculations for receiving payments, calculating fees and distributing proposals, collecting and balancing monies, including operation of a cash register and point of sale machine to handle cash and credit/debit card transactions.

Freedom of Action :

• The work is guided overall by legal practice and procedures, government legislation, OPS/ministry policies, guidelines, manuals, directives, established practices and OPS service standards.

• The position works independently in performing daily activities, often in large teams with one supervisor to a work unit of 20 to 60 staff. Complex decisions are made in the absence of supervisors on a wide range of issues with serious implications for clients and justice participants. The position is responsible for independently opening the courthouse and performing duties with no on-site supervision (e.g., satellite courts and Weekend and Statutory Holiday court). The position refers highly contentious or serious issues and problems that deviate significantly from established guidelines to the supervisor.

• Decision-making involves an independent analysis of the issue and deciding the best approach for resolution (e.g., intent of policy for ambiguous circumstances, interpreting regulations to resolve issues and making recommendations on new/improved operational processes and best practices to achieve service excellence). Many decisions made independently by the position cannot be overturned, except by application to the court (e.g., decisions on default judgments) and can have serious impact on clients, the public and the administration of justice.

• The position is accountable for providing technical advice, guidance and support to both in court and office staff and participating in group/area office activities to ensure deadlines are met and recommending courses of action based on expertise. The position identifies and evaluates issues and trends and recommends new procedures to eliminate problems and improve efficiency and/or client service and may identify work deficiencies and recommend solutions.

• Position is responsible for ensuring court records are confidentially maintained and secure at all times, including the integrity of government, court and client information.

• Position certifies audio recordings of court records and ensures corresponding annotations have met Ministry standards, subject to audit.

• Position assumes complete ownership of filing of in-court documentation including court counter filings, electronic filings and online filings from start to conclusion, and follows through on provision of information/services and resolution of problems to provide effective customer service.

• Errors such as inaccurate exercising of designated signing authority on legal documents, improper exhibit management, inaccurate completion of forms, or incorrect processing could cause significant productivity issues as resources must be re-allocated to research and resolve issues or discrepancies, significant embarrassment and loss of integrity to the justice system and ministry, significant hardship to the client or parties involved (e.g., mistrial, wrongful incarceration or remand), legal challenge (e.g., lawsuit or inquest), jeopardize public safety (e.g., a dangerous individual not being incarcerated) and loss of public confidence in the justice system.

• Failure to appropriately identify client needs, enquiries, problems and concerns; to identify the provisions and limitations of a program or service to a client; or to find satisfactory solutions to client problems could impact on the provisions of timely, effective and quality justice services, and could result in reduced confidence levels; public criticism; potential hardship for clients and stakeholders; and/or complaints to management/senior management, the Minister's Office and MPPs.

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