Access to Justice Blog
Analysis and opinions from the leading voices in access to justice research.
On July 22, 2013, the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) released the final report for their Family Law Project: “Increasing Access to Family Justice through Comprehensive Entry Points and Inclusivity”. The report, which the result of over three years of consultation and study, makes a number of innovative recommendations and adds a welcome voice to discussions on family law reform.
The Problem with the Family Justice System
Obtaining a separation, divorce or dealing with child custody is a painful experience. It is emotionally, physically and financially draining. It is also a difficult period of adjustment, where individuals are forced to deal with the absence of their partner and the deterioration of their marriage all while adapting to new living arrangements. One of biggest challenges many people face during this period is navigating through the justice system. There have been a number of concerns raised about the inaccessibility of the family justice system due to its adversarial nature, inordinate delays and the unaffordability of legal services.... Read More
In August I get more of “Out of the Office” automatic email replies than any other month. I suspect (and am very envious of the fact) that many people have fled their offices, trading them in for lakes, canoes, cottages and long summer days on the beach. So in honour of this exodus, and as a reminder that not everyone has easy access to the people and services that administer justice, we’ve complied on our blog some of the most recent papers on A2J and technology for you to read on the dock. We’ve also included the links to some new (and often controversial) A2J initiatives that that are attempting to make access to justice easier, more efficient, and more widely available. Happy summer!
Read about it: A2J & Technology Papers
- Kimbro, Stephanie. “Using Technology to Unbundle in the Legal Services Community” (2013) Harv JL & Tech: Occasional Paper Series
- Cabral, James E. et al. “... Read More
Social Determinants of Health
It is well understood that those at the bottom of the social gradient have shorter life expectancies and experience more health problems at a higher rate than those who are well-off. The societal factors that cause this disparity are referred to by social scientists as “social determinants of health”. According to the World Health Organisation, social determinants of health are “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age” with these circumstances being shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources. When people experience things like poor housing, insecure employment, inadequate education and other disadvantages, the negative effects on health accumulate throughout life. Many of these problems may actually be unmet legal needs that can be dealt with in a poverty law practice. In other words, legal services have the power... Read More
The semi-annual meeting of the International Legal Aid Group (ILAG) is the pre-eminent international legal aid conference in the world. Delegates from about 25 countries, including Asian, African and Latin American nations, attend this conference. The focus of the ILAG is on access to justice in European nations, as well as other common law countries. The conference series began twenty years ago in The Hague as a small group of legal aid researchers and policy-makers gathered together to discuss policy and program developments in the Netherlands occurring at that time. Since then, the ILAG conference has become a valuable event for researchers and policy-makers to discuss on-going research and policy initiatives in view of meeting the challenges in administration of legal aid, as well as access to justice barriers in general.
This year, the conference theme, Legal Aid in Difficult Times, offered the opportunity for speakers from around the world to share their reserach on issues ranging from the role of new technologies in securing access to justice, to how jurisdictions from around the world are coping with budgetary restraints that have challenged their... Read More
Historically, legal aid was the first response to the access to justice problem. At present it occupies by far the largest terrain in the access to justice landscape in Canada. Access to justice in Canada is poised on the edge of significant changes encouraged by the work of the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, led by Chief Justice Mclachlin and Justice Cromwell of the Supreme Court. As these changes play out over the coming years the legal aid system is in a potentially powerful position to play a major role because of its large presence in access to justice. Thus the vitality of the legal aid system is of major importance. This note presents a brief statistical picture of the current state of civil legal aid in Canada.
Legal aid in Canada is provided by 13 legal aid organizations, one in each province and territory. Each legal aid “plan” as they are called in Canada is a statutory body created by the province or territory, but operating at arm length to government governed by an independent board of directors.... Read More