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Access to Justice Blog

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

Sean Walsh
Aug 30, 2017

Through last year’s R v Jordan ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada illuminated what it dubbed a “culture of complacency” within the Canadian courts. This issue revolves around ongoing delays and has been the subject of many discussions on efficiency in the courts and the importance of timely judicial appointments. While most commentary on this issue centers around criminal law, this post will examine why wait times, as relate specifically to the immigration law system and refugee and asylum claims brought before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, are also a pressing issue.

Refugee and asylum claims have been a seminal topic during the summer of 2017. There are several reasons for this prominence, including dwindling funding to help claimants navigate the legal system and the immigration process and, insufficient resources within the legal system to review older, so-called “... Read More

The Honourable Thomas Cromwell
Aug 17, 2017

This article originally appeared on The Lawyer’s Daily on August 16, 2017. It is the third article in Thomas Cromwell's exclusive The Lawyer's Daily column dedicated to access to civil and family justice.

Will we recognize injustice when we see it? And what is injustice anyway? I suspect that these questions are never far from the thoughts of many of us working in the justice system. We hope that we will not be the police officer who pushes too hard to get a suspect’s statement or the prosecutor who wants to “win” too much, or the defence lawyer who misses a path to acquittal or the judge who fails to intervene when justice requires it.

We all recognize the clear cases of injustice — at least after the fact — but what about the ones that are not so clear, such as where the end result seems to be satisfactory, but the way it was arrived at causes us concern.

In his new book: Broken Scales: Reflections on Injustice (American Bar Association, 2017) Joel Cohen, with the assistance of Dale Degenshein, leads us on a course of reflection about these questions in a collection of interviews that present... Read More

Issue of the Month
Amanda Jerome
Aug 17, 2017

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) and the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice are tackling a piece of the access to justice puzzle together by conducting a study on the cost of resolving family law disputes.

“Part of the whole access to justice inquiry has to involve the accessibility of different dispute resolution processes and their relative costs,” said John-Paul Boyd, executive director of the CRILF, adding that this often leads to questions about prioritizing funds.

“For example, we have legal aid programs across Canada since the late '60s [and] early '70s and those legal aid programs are by and large directed towards providing legal assistance to people who are litigating. In terms of where we, as a society, spend our dollars in the justice system, we spend it maintaining the courts. And it’s not that anyone is suggesting that the courts have no value or that courts are going the way of the dodo, they’re not. Courts are necessary ... but just looking at Canadian funding priorities, honestly it’s a bit perplexing to realize that we spend the lion’s share of our money... Read More

Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters
Aug 01, 2017

The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters launched the #justiceforall campaign designed to raise public understanding of accessible justice challenges as a component of a healthy democracy.

A next step in transforming the A2J landscape is to engage the public by raising awareness of the importance of justice issues in Canada.  Building a public understanding of the importance of legal health and the predictability of legal issues throughout one’s life will benefit individuals and will transform the access to justice conversation into an issue relevant to citizens, decision makers, and voters. As long as access to justice challenges are only understood within the justice system, the possible solutions will be limited to the scope of influence, resources and imagination of the justice system.

The Action Committee is asking the A2J leaders in Canada, to help raise the profile of A2J efforts. If you are a leader in A2J, a bencher, a legal academic, a judge or a lawyer with a personal following, we would also welcome your participation in collectively raising this issue. To participate in the social media campaign or... Read More

Justice pour tous
Comité d’action sur l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale
Aug 01, 2017

Le Comité d’action sur l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale a commencé la campagne #justicepourtous vise à faire réaliser au public que l’accès à la justice est, en fait, l’accès aux solutions de leurs problèmes juridiques de tous les jours et un élément d’une saine démocratie.

L’étape suivante dans la transformation du paysage de l’accès à la justice est de mobiliser le public en sensibilisant les gens à l’importance des questions de justice au Canada. Sensibiliser le public à l’importance de la santé juridique et à la prévisibilité des problèmes juridiques au cours de leur vie profitera aux individus et permettra de transformer les discussions sur l’accès à la justice en une question concrète et pertinente pour les citoyens, les décideurs et les électeurs. Tant et aussi longtemps que les défis en matière d’accès à la justice sont seulement compris par le système de justice, les solutions possibles seront limitées au champ d’action, aux ressources et à l’imagination du système de justice.

Le Comité d'Action vous demande, comme un des A2J leaders au Canada, nous aider à faire... Read More