How to Use CaseLines at Hearing

For the last year or so, the Ontario Superior Court has been using CaseLines software (which belongs to Thomson Reuters) at hearings. While the Court has provided some Tips regarding use on its website, more detailed instructions may be helpful.

In Preparation for the Hearing

1.     Signing Up

If you’ve never used CaseLines before, you’ll need to sign up for an account. To do this, go to the website https://ontariocourts.caselines.com/ and click on Register, in the top right.

On the next screen (shown below), enter your information as required, click on both boxes above the Register button, and hit Register (and then follow any directions sent to your email to activate your CaseLines account).

2.     Navigating to your Case

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll start at the home screen, which has a navigation menu across the top. You’ll need to navigate to your case (the court staff will have created a case file for your case). You can do this either by selecting ‘View Case List’ or entering the name of one of the parties in the search box, and then by clicking ‘Search Cases’ from the navigation bar. Note the ‘Support’ button (to the right of ‘View Case List’) if you experience technical problems.

If you select ‘View Case List,’ that will bring you to a ‘Case List’ page. Scroll down until you find your case (it will be in the section starting with ‘Acme v. Whiteacre’), then select ‘Update Case’ if you want to upload documents, or ‘Review Evidence’ if you want to look at documents already uploaded. Note the button for each is to the far right of your case, i.e. to the far right of ‘Acme’ in the image below.

3.     How to Upload Documents

To upload documents, you will need to either select ‘Update Case’ from the above screen, or ‘Update Bundle’ if you’re reviewing the documents. That will bring you to the below screen, and you will then need to select the ‘Index’ tab.

That will bring you to another page that contains bundles for the different parties. Navigate down to the party you represent, and click on the blue icon, i.e. Defendant/Respondent Documents.

That will bring you to another screen, where you need to click on the ‘Upload File’ button.

That will bring you to another screen, where you will either need to drag your files into the box, or add them manually, using the ‘Add Files’ button. Once there, you will additionally:

  • Need to click the ‘Start Upload’ button; and
  • Then click the ‘Update All Documents’ button.

You can then click on the ‘View Section Documents’ tab, to confirm that all documents were uploaded. Note that documents will be numbered consecutively (in whatever section you have been assigned, starting from page 1 (i.e. A1, B-1 etc.).

3a.     Upload to the Right Place

Where a matter has a 2nd (or subsequent hearing), CaseLines has hidden (or poorly displayed) ‘multiple-folder functionality.’ Basically, each hearing can be put in a separate ‘bundle’ depending on hearing date. The easiest way to think about this is if you put certain materials in one folder for a hearing Monday, and other materials into a different folder for a hearing on Tuesday (meaning what’s in Monday’s folder isn’t in Tuesday’s, unless you also upload it there). To make sure your materials end up in the right place, find the hidden dropdown box where indicated, and then select the correct hearing date, and be sure to upload your materials to that location (it’s a bit like using different Drop Boxes for different hearings).

4.      How does Page Numbering Work?

Depending upon the party, documents are numbered in slightly different formats, i.e. B-1-195 or A24. For important documents, you’ll want to take note of the “Current” page number. Ignore the top ‘Master’ line.

The Hearing Itself

5.      How many computer monitors (screens) are needed?

While it may be possible to get by with one monitor at hearing, 3 or 4 are likely ideal. One monitor for the video call, another to run CaseLines, and a 3rd for your notes (my current setup features 4). Note that the built in display function directs the other parties’ CaseLines software to that page in CaseLines (it is not the same as Zoom’s share function, meaning your clients won’t see it and it will not display on the main screen).

6.      How do you get to ‘Present Mode?’

To get to the ‘present mode’ you will need to click on the tabs ‘Review Evidence’ or just ‘Review’ (if you’re already in the case).

That will bring you to the first page of the filed documents. However, to be able to do anything useful, you will need to expand the horizontal navigation menu at the top of the page, by clicking ‘Find’ for example (which will cause the tabs from ‘Previous Document’ to ‘Find Page’ to appear). For most uses, the key tabs are likely ‘Find’ and ‘View’ (with View only mattering if you want to rotate a document, zoom in or out etc.). Once you click on ‘Find’, you’ll see an icon title ‘Direct Others to Page,’ as set forth in section 7 below.

7.      How to Direct People to a Specific Page in the Materials?

The easiest way to direct parties to a certain page in the materials is to know the page number (beside the word ‘Current’, see section 4 above), i.e. A27, B-1-195, and click on Find, which opens a sub navigation bar running across the top of the page (starting with ‘Previous Document’ and ending with ‘Find Page’). Of course, this means that for key documents, you will need to spend time locating the CaseLines document number for each, after all of your documents have been uploaded to CaseLines.

You would then click on the icon ‘Direct Others to Page,’ allowing you to present the contents of that page to the other parties with CaseLines open and running.

The above is for general information purposes only, and is intended to be of assistance to the bar in using CaseLines software at hearing. It is hoped to be (largely) accurate as of the date published, but will be out of date once Thomson Reuters updates CaseLines. For technical assistance, you should contact Thomson Reuters, and our firm will not be able to offer same, outside of a (paid) consultation discussing your case. No claim of ownership is made to CaseLines software.

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