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Access to Justice Blog

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

The Honourable Thomas Cromwell
Jun 15, 2017

This article originally appeared on The Lawyer’s Daily on March 3, 2017: It is the first article in Thomas Cromwell's exclusive The Lawyer's Daily column dedicated to access to civil and family justice.

Access to justice is the biggest challenge facing our legal system. And just about every lawyer I know cares deeply about the health of that system and many are trying to help. But do we understand the problem and are we making progress? Those questions will be the jumping off spot for this, and subsequent blogs dedicated to access to civil and family justice.

Let’s start with what we mean by the term “access to justice.” I’m concerned that it can have so many meanings that it loses its meaning entirely. Of course it’s a phrase that is bandied around to mean a lot of very different things. What I mean by access to justice is assuring that people have the knowledge, skills, resources and services to meaningfully address their civil and family legal issues.

In order to meaningfully address their problems, people do not necessarily need to have... Read More

Issue of the Month
The Charter and Legal Aid Ontario’s Proposed Refugee Law Cuts
Sean Rehaag
Jun 07, 2017

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has announced plans for substantial cuts to its immigration and refugee law services. Other legal aid programs across Canada are no doubt watching this closely, and may be considering similar measures. The proposed cuts, however, may be unconstitutional.

Proposed 40% cuts to Refugee Law Services

Currently, refugee claimants in Ontario who meet the test for financial eligibility can obtain legal aid certificates for assistance in putting together their claim, including drafting Basis of Claim narratives (the key document used in refugee determinations). Most financially eligible refugee claimants also receive legal aid certificates for representation at their refugee hearings, with only a small number refused representation due to merit screening. In addition, LAO funds some other types of representation, including appeals to the Refugee Appeal Division, judicial review of certain immigration and refugee matters in Federal Court, Pre-Removal Risk assessments, Humanitarian and Compassionate applications for Permanent Residence, and immigration detention... Read More

Andrew Pilliar
Apr 25, 2017

A number of reports published in recent years have highlighted the lack of research on access to justice in Canada and have called for more. In a Canadian Forum on Civil Justice column published on, Andrew Pilliar discusses the state of access to justice research in Canada and offers insight into how much access to justice research is being funded in Canada.  Read “The Cost of Justice (Research)” here.

Trevor Farrow et al
Apr 18, 2017

Le forum canadien sur la justice civile est très heureux d’annoncer que << Les problèmes juridiques de la vie quotidienne et le coût de la justice au
Canada : rapport général >> est présentement disponible en français. Ce rapport général fait partie du projet sur les coûts de la justice (2011-2018) qui examine les coûts sociaux et économiques du système de justice canadien.

Les problèmes juridiques de la vie quotidienne et le coût de la justice au Canada : rapport général est disponsible sur notre site web ici.

Ab Currie, PhD
Apr 11, 2017

The Legal Health Check-up Project which involved 12 community legal clinics in Southwestern Ontario and 125 partnerships with community organizations and service agencies, was developed as a way to provide information and assistance related to everyday legal problems to disadvantaged people. "Engaging the Power of Community to Expand Legal Services for Low‐Income Ontarians", the complete report on the Legal Health Check-Up Project was prepared by CFCJ Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Ab Currie, in his capacity as Research Consultant to the Legal Health Check-­up Project and details the development, adoption and expansion of the Legal Health Check-Up Project. "Engaging the Power of Community to Expand Legal Services for Low‐Income Ontarians" is available in full here.