Access to Justice Blog
Analysis and opinions from the leading voices in access to justice research.
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
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
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
This article originally appeared on The Lawyer’s Daily on July 19, 2017. It is the third article in Thomas Cromwell's exclusive The Lawyer's Daily column dedicated to access to civil and family justice.
Life isn’t organized like the Canadian Abridgement. The real problems of real people don’t sort themselves into neat categories and they are not contained in watertight compartments. A person’s legal problem is often only one dimension of a much bigger, more complex and multi-faceted problem. And we know that one of the biggest impediments to access to justice results from our justice system failing to respond to these multi-faceted problems in ways that are meaningful and practical.
Our justice system is complex, with lines of authority and responsibility that are often diffuse and unclear. Its components exist in silos — judges, lawyers, court officials — so that co-ordinated work toward a common goal is difficult to achieve. And too often, the justice system is unduly insular so that it is often unable or unwilling to collaborate with other government and community resources, let alone co-ordinate its priorities and approaches with them. In short,... Read More
This article originally appeared on The Lawyer’s Daily on June 12, 2017. It is the second article in Thomas Cromwell's exclusive The Lawyer's Daily column dedicated to access to civil and family justice.
Sometimes symbolic gestures are meaningful. And sometimes they are even important. The recent resolutions by the leaders of the Canadian judiciary concerning access to justice are both.
In April, at the urging of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, the Canadian Council of Chief Judges (composed of the leaders of the provincial court judiciary) and the Canadian Judicial Council (composed of the leaders of the federally appointed judiciary) passed resolutions supporting the aspirational goal of 100 per cent access to justice and calling on all judges to demonstrate leadership and work with all Canadian citizens and justice system stakeholders to achieve that goal.
Here are the two resolutions.
The Canadian Judicial Council Resolution from its April 2017 meeting:
"THAT the Canadian Judicial Council supports the aspirational goal of the public... Read More