Tips for Caselines
You’ve received an email from CaseLines advising you to upload documents for your upcoming hearing into CaseLines. What now?
View a general comprehensive CaseLines tutorial here: Welcome to CaseLines (18 minutes).
For a Toronto Family law matters, view the tutorial here: CaseLines Information Session – Toronto Family (1 hour)
For technical instructions, login to CaseLines and click “Support” or see FAQs.
Below are 10 tips to help you work with CaseLines.
Tip 1 – Register and bookmark CaseLines (Ontario)
The first step will be to register as a CaseLines user and bookmark the CaseLines (Ontario) website. Click on the link in the email directing you to CaseLines and fill in the required information on the registration page. You can also register in advance by visiting: https://ontariocourts.caselines.com/ and clicking on “Register” at the top right corner. You may also want to bookmark this website so that you return to the Ontario version of CaseLines and not another jurisdiction.
Tip 2 – File first, upload second
After you have filed your documents with the court, through Justice Submissions Online or another approved means, and those filings have been accepted by the court, upload your documents into CaseLines. This should be done at least 5 days prior to your court date (or later IF permitted by the applicable rules).
Important – Uploading to CaseLines is mandatory so that the judicial official has access to your material when preparing for the event. Material that is not uploaded into CaseLines will likely not be reviewed in advance.
Tip 3 – Invite other lawyers and legal assistants
If you are a self-represented litigant and would like to grant another person access to your CaseLines file, you will need to ask the court to grant the access.
Lawyers can provide other professionals access to their cases in CaseLines. You can do so by locating the case (found on your View Case List screen) and selecting Update Case. Next, click on the People tab found in the case file and then on Invite New Participant. Enter the participant’s email address and select the bundles you would like to provide them access to (e.g. the event and Orders and Endorsements bundles). Once you click Invite, an automated CaseLines email will be sent to the person containing a link to the case.
View a short how-to video here.
Tip 4 – Name and number your documents
To upload into CaseLines, you must save your document using the following file naming protocol:
- Document type (including the form number in family cases),
- Type of party submitting the document,
- Name of the party submitting the document (including initials if the name is not unique to the case), and
- Date on which the document was created or signed, in the format DD-MMM-YYYY (e.g. 12-JAN-2021).
Document names that do not follow this protocol will not upload correctly or be accepted.
You can control the order in which your documents appear, therefore please add a number at the beginning of the document name (i.e. 1. Factum – Respondent Smith – 01-JAN-2021). If you upload a new document later (e.g. during the hearing), you will want to add it at the end of your list so that it does not change the order and page numbers that have been allocated to documents that have already been uploaded. If your documents are not appearing numerically, please contact staff so that they can change the settings in your file.
Below is an example of how a respondent in an appeal may name their documents in CaseLines:
- Factum – Respondent Smith – 01-JAN-2021
- Responding Record — Respondent Smith – 01-JAN-2021
- Oral Argument Compendium – Respondent Smith – 01-JAN-2021
- Transcript Brief – Respondent Smith – 01-JAN-2021
- Exhibit Book – Respondent Smith – 01-JAN-2021
- Financial Statement 13.1 – Applicant Smith – 01-JAN-2021
Tip 5 – Upload documents individually to the appropriate event bundle if they do not contain hyperlinks to other documents
After accessing your case in CaseLines, you will see a list of event bundles (subfolders) in your case. Before each event, staff will label and provide you with access to the bundle for the event. For example, if a settlement conference has been scheduled, staff will provide you with access to the settlement conference bundle. You would also have access to previous event bundles as well as the settlement conference bundles. Upload your documents into the correct event bundle. This makes it easy for the judicial official to review the right documents before the upcoming event.
To upload documents, click on the “Sections” tab in the case file, find your designated section and select “Upload Documents”.
Generally speaking, each document should be uploaded to CaseLines separately, in the appropriate Section tab and using the naming protocol outlined in Tip 4. This is to ensure that each document will be organized in the table of contents found on the left-hand of the “Review” screen and can be loaded easily by the system during your hearing.
There are three exceptions to this rule:
- Affidavits with attached exhibits;
- Books of authorities; and
- Documents that are hyperlinked to other documents.
Affidavits with attached exhibits should be uploaded in one PDF document with hyperlinks from the affidavit to the exhibits for ease of reference. Similarly, where a Book of Authorities is provided to the court, it should be uploaded as a single PDF document with a table of contents hyperlinked to the cases contained within it. This will assist the judicial official in easily locating the exhibits and/or caselaw. A party’s factum can also be linked to caselaw in publicly available on-line sources such as CanLii, where available.
When uploading a document to CaseLines, ensure the document is under 500 pages in length. This will allow you to avoid issues with your document freezing while scrolling during your hearing. As such, if a document such as a book of authorities is longer than 500 pages, it should be broken down into Book of Authorities Vol. 1, Book of Authorities Vol. 2, etc. to remain under the maximum number of pages.
Please see Tip 6 for instructions on how to upload documents to CaseLines that are hyperlinked to other documents that will also be uploaded.
Tip 6 – Upload your documents in a single PDF to keep your internal hyperlinks
Previously, only hyperlinks to external websites remained active in court documents once they were uploaded into CaseLines. Internal hyperlinks pointing to locations within a document (such as a table of contents with hyperlinks to each section within the document) were deactivated upon being uploaded. This issue has now been resolved.
CaseLines will retain internal hyperlinks within a document provided those hyperlinks link to a place within the same document. Sometimes it is preferable to upload documents together in one large PDF to retain internal hyperlinks, but this can make it difficult for the judicial official to locate the documents in CaseLines. In order to upload all documents in one PDF to retain internal hyperlinks, and also display the names of each document contained within it for ease of reference, create a “first-level bookmark” for each document within the PDF using the naming convention set out in Tip 4.
Next, upload your PDF into CaseLines by clicking on the “Sections” tab in the case file, finding your designated section and selecting “Upload Documents”. On the Upload Documents page, select the “Upload Bookmarked PDF” checkbox. Selecting “Upload Bookmarked PDF” will prompt CaseLines to detect the first-level bookmarks and split them into separate documents. These newly separated documents will be organized numerically in the table of contents found on the Review Screen. The hyperlinks within these documents will remain intact.
For example, when uploading a motion record with internal hyperlinks, create a first-level bookmark for each document contained within the motion record so they will be displayed in the CaseLines list of documents on the left-hand of the “Review” screen. Following these steps will ensure that your documents are organized and easily accessible for your hearing.
Please note that the Bookmarked PDF function should not be used for affidavits with exhibits and Books of Authorities, as they should not be split into separate documents. Please refer to Tip 5 for more information on affidavits with exhibits and Books of Authorities.
Tip 7 – Create an index of key documents listing CaseLines-generated document and page numbers
After uploading your documents into CaseLines, you may want to create a document containing an index of the documents that you will be relying on at the hearing along with the CaseLines-generated document and page numbers (e.g. A13). If you upload this document onto CaseLines in advance of the hearing, the judicial official can refer to it when preparing for the event.
Tip 8 – Highlight or make notes on your documents using the Notes function
You can highlight or make notes on your documents in CaseLines using the Notes function. These functions are discussed in the CaseLines guide regarding Notes. To access the guide, login to CaseLines and then visit the following website: https://caselines.freshservice.com/support/solutions/articles/2000024313-15-notes. A complete list of CaseLines guides is accessible at the following website: https://caselines.freshservice.com/support/solutions/folders/2000062769.
Tip 9 – Upload your recent endorsements and orders
Your case will have an orders/endorsements bundle. Parties are asked to upload copies of orders and endorsements into this sub-bundle if they have not already been uploaded so that they can be accessed for upcoming events. This should include any order that remains in effect as well as any relevant endorsements, including endorsements that were made before electronic files were available to the Court.
Please remember to save the document descriptively, in accordance with the protocol (i.e. instead of Order, save as Order of Stevenson J., 1-FEB-2021).
Tip 10 – Who do I contact if the CaseLines platform is not working properly?
If you need support to resolve technical issues, please call 1-800-290-9378 and select either “CaseLines” or “Evidence Sharing” when you reach the directory, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Technical support provided by Thomson Reuters is available from 8 AM to 5 PM (Monday – Friday) Eastern Time Zone.
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) resource for CaseLines is available online at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/supplementary-notice-september-2-2020/faq-caselines/.
For assistance with technical issues, please contact Thomson Reuters technical support at 1-800-290-9378 and select either “CaseLines” or “Evidence Sharing” when you reach the directory, or email email@example.com. Support is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday).
The Ministry of the Attorney General’s Court Services Division is now offering a technology support hotline as additional help for self-represented litigants. The hotline directs self-represented litigants to a directory of support options. CaseLines is option 4 on the menu. Self-represented litigants will be able to call the hotline at 1-800-980-4962.