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Madly off in all directions | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, June 18, 2021 @ 2:31 PM | By Marcel Strigberger

Marcel Strigberger %>
Marcel Strigberger
Normalcy? COVID-19 is waning. The metrics are getting better daily. For over 15 months now our legal system has been all over the place functioning and lockdown wise; closed, open, sort of open, in person, e-only, urgent matters solely, anything goes, juries, no juries? It reminds me of Stephen Leacock’s comment, “Lord Ronald …  flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions.”

I think we all had enough of the imposed restrictions and directions. And as Popeye the sailor used to say, “I hads enough and enough is too much.” I believe that shortly we shall be seeing directives from the chief justice and attorney general’s office swing to the opposite end of the constraints spectrum, in the interest of bringing back “normalcy.” We may see normalcy on steroids, as follows.

Courthouse entry

  • You must complete a screening questionnaire. If you have just returned from out of the country, come right on in. Your case will be at the top of the list.
  • Say hello to the monitor at the door. If you wish and it makes you feel better, ask if you can snap a selfie of you taking the monitor’s temperature.
  • Masks will not be permitted in the courthouse. Before entry you will have to pass through a schmatta detector.

Courtroom protocols

  • All hearings will be in person. There will be no more virtual or Zoom proceedings. Lawyers who really miss Zoom may bring along to the courtroom their cats. And don’t forget your pants.
  • All persons must practise social proximity. To facilitate this likely forgotten practice, the AG’s office is arranging to equip all courtrooms with Volkswagen Beetles.
  • If you see any plexiglass in the courtroom, feel free to take some home.
  • Even if your case may not be reached, attend with your client anyway. All attendees will be encouraged to hug one another. There will be psychological therapists on hand to explain what a hug is.


  • The public has been denied the pleasures of serving on juries for too long. To remedy this injustice, criminal trials will now consist of 13 jurors and civil trials of seven jurors. This additional juror may sit wherever he or she wishes. This includes sharing the judge’s bench.
  • To get to know one another and engage better, jury panel members will start the day off by holding hands in a circle and singing “Ring around the Rosie.”

Public areas

  • All elevators will have a minimum occupancy of 25. While you ride, please do enjoy videos of laughter yoga.
  • Courthouses will have television monitors stationed throughout where attendees can gather shoulder to shoulder and watch the latest news, including the ebbing COVID-19 daily count. Currently the seven-day average is minus 453.
  • All washrooms will be fully functional. Use at your own risk however as there is a danger of getting caught in an avalanche of stashed mountains of rolls of toilet paper.

Actually, I doubt the pendulum will swing quite that far. But these thoughts do make me feel a bit better, reminiscing about the pre-pandemic normalcy, which I suppose for many of us has become a bit blurry. Then again, what is normal? Fifteen months ago, whoever expected the normalcy we got; riding off in every direction.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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