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Access to Justice Blog

Analysis and opinions from the leading voices in access to justice research.

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
Jan 05, 2018

Researchers at the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) have published three new Cost of Justice reports that explore some of the frequently overlooked consequences of experiencing serious civil and family justice problems in Canada. Beyond the out-of-pocket monetary costs of everyday legal problems, millions of Canadians experience physical and mental health problems, loss of employment and a loss of housing as a direct consequence of the legal problem(s) that they face. In addition, based on findings from the CFCJ’s national Cost of Justice in Canada survey, Canadians also reported that they access government-mandated social assistance as a result of one or more serious civil or family justice problems that they experienced. To read the latest CFCJ Cost of Justice reports, click on the hyperlinked titles below:

The Honourable Thomas Cromwell
Jan 04, 2018

This article originally appeared on The Lawyer’s Daily on January 4, 2018. It is the fourth article in The Honourable Thomas Cromwell's exclusive Lawyer's Daily column dedicated to access to civil and family justice.

Innovation can be a driver of improved access to justice. But our profession is not noted for being at the forefront of innovation. And so it is encouraging to see signs that innovation is front and centre in the training of the next generation of lawyers. That is what I saw on a visit to Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law in Kamloops, B.C., and in particular in a course created and taught by professor Katie Sykes.

She is an associate professor who developed a course, Designing Legal Expert Systems, in which law students design legal apps using software created by Neota Logic, a software company started by a group of tech-savvy lawyers. Students in the apps course design and build apps for non-profit legal organizations to use in-house or make available to clients, aiming to provide simple, user-friendly paths to legal solutions and better access to justice.

Professor... Read More

Issue of the Month
Ab Currie, PhD
Dec 08, 2017

In a recent anthology on issues in legal aid, Professor Mary Anne Noone from Latrobe University in Melbourne, Australia proposed that legal aid impact statements become a requirement. In so doing, this would allow governments and others to take account of the downstream impacts that changes to legislation or policy proposed by governments have on legal aid programs. (Mary Anne Noone, Challenges Facing the Legal Aid System in Flynn, A. and Hodgson J. (eds), Access to Justice and Legal Aid: Comparative Perspectives on Unmet Legal Need Oxford: Hart Publishing (2017).

According to Professor Noone, legal aid impact statements have been discussed since the early 1990’s in Australia. Should legal aid impact statements be considered for Canada? What would this look like? As relates to Canada, the adoption of a legal aid impact statement requirement would mean that federal, provincial and territorial governments would have to commit to assessing the impact that all legislative and policy changes in criminal, family and social benefits law would have on legal aid. It would require that provincial and territorial governments assess how the establishment of different courts... Read More

The Honourable Thomas Cromwell
Oct 16, 2017

This article originally appeared on The Lawyer’s Daily on October 16, 2017 as part of Thomas Cromwell's exclusive The Lawyer's Daily column dedicated to access to civil and family justice. It is part one of a two-part interview with The Honourable Justice George Czutrin.

Family law is a flash point for access to justice. Some jurisdictions report that as many as 70 per cent of family law litigants appear in court without legal representation. And with or without representation, the stress of legal proceedings adds to the burden of an already emotionally charged situation. The impact on children of conflict and delay in its resolution is hard to overestimate.

The Honourable Justice George Czutrin is a family law expert, a tireless worker for improvement in family law and the senior family judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario. He has been a family law judge since 1993 and his dedication to the pursuit of improved family law justice is unsurpassed.

Justice Czutrin agreed to be interviewed for this column. This is part one of a two-part interview. I think that you will be impressed and... Read More

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
Sep 28, 2017

We are thrilled to offer our most heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Les Jacobs on being elected to the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Jacobs has long been a member of the CFCJ family, serving in various capacities over the years including as Academic Director and Executive Director. Dr. Jacobs is currently a Senior Research Fellow with our organization and plays a lead role in our national Cost of Justice in Canada research study. He is a Professor at York University where he teaches political science and law & society in the Department of Social Science as well as in the Graduate Program of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Graduate Program in Socio-Legal Studies. Congratulations once more on being elected to the Royal Society of Canada Division of Social Sciences, Dr. Jacobs.

To view the official Royal Society of Canada announcement, visit their website here.