Supreme Court of Canada Launches Electronic Filing Portal

Beginning Monday, January 30th, 2023, parties will be able to access a new Electronic Filing Portal to upload documents related to their case before the Supreme Court. With the exception of documents that are under a confidentiality order or sealed, the portal will be used for all filings. Users accessing the web-based portal will be required to register using an email address, which will be verified by the Registry Branch. Users will receive an initial confirmation of documents that are submitted, as well as a confirmation from the Registry when the documents are processed.

For more information about the Supreme Court of Canada’s Electronic Filing Portal, visit: https://www.scc-csc.ca/parties/efp-pde-info-eng.aspx.

Information about the Electronic Filing Portal is available in French here: https://www.scc-csc.ca/parties/efp-pde-info-fra.aspx

Manitoba Regulatory Sandbox Pilot Program Accepting Proposals

A pilot program that aims to provide Manitobans with new and innovative legal service options is now accepting proposals. The Law Society of Manitoba’s “Regulatory Sandbox” pilot program was created to facilitate legal service delivery by lawyers in ways that would not be allowed under current regulations. The program will also provide a safe environment for non-lawyers to provide advice and legal help.

For more information about the Regulatory Sandbox Pilot Program, including access to the application and information on how to submit a proposal, visit the Law Society of Manitoba website here: https://lawsociety.mb.ca/about/lsm-initiatives/access-to-justice/regulatory-sandbox-pilot-program/. Legal service providers who are not lawyers are encouraged to apply.

Access to Justice Week in BC is February 4 to 10, 2023

This year, Access to Justice Week in British Columbia will take place from Saturday, February 4 to Friday, February 10. The theme of this year’s event is “Access to Justice – Whose Job is it Anyway?” Events scheduled for Access to Justice Week BC include:

  • Youth Leaders in Law: National Conference 2023 (Saturday, February 4)
    During this event, high school and undergraduate students interested in law school will hear from a panel of law school professors and legal counsel. Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet and speak with panelists and law students. This event will be available via Zoom.
  • Access to Justice Issues in BC’s Family Law System (Monday, February 6)
    This panel will highlight recent research on access to justice issues in BC’s family law system and explore the importance of people-centred design. 

There will be two events on Tuesday, February 7: Understanding and Creating Access to Justice (in-person session) and Access to Justice: Whose Job is it Anyway?

Other events include:

Wednesday, February 8
Event 1: Neurodiversity in Law
Event 2: Youth Leaders in law Virtual Speed Networking

Thursday, February 9
Event 1: Justice for Everyone: Developing New Lawyers in the Public Interest
Event 2: Friends of the Court and Access to Justice

Friday, February 10
Event 1: Innovating to Create Market-Based Solutions
Event 2: Drug Treatment Court – Specialized Approaches

For information on whether events can be attended remotely or in-person, and for the full description of Access to Justice Week BC events, including information on panelists, visit the Access to Justice Week BC website: https://accesstojusticebc.ca/a2jweekbc/.

New Report Includes more than 40 Recommendations for Improving Access to Justice for Separating Families in England and Wales

JUSTICE, a reform and human rights organisation in the UK working to improve the justice system, has published a new report on Improving Access to Justice for Separating Families. While the report notes that there are serious access to justice challenges being experienced by families accessing the justice system, the focus of the report is on private family disputes in England and Wales involving children. The report applies an ‘access to justice’ lens to examine the rights of children and families and makes 43 recommendations related to child arrangements problems and their resolution in England and Wales. The key principles that guided this work by the JUSTICE organisation are:

i) The rule of law requires access to forms of dispute resolution – including access to the court system.
ii) The family justice system must be designed around the needs of families, not the expertise of legal professionals; and
iii) The child’s perspective must be at the heart of every stage of dispute resolution in the family justice system.

Improving Access to Justice for Separating Families, A Report by JUSTICE is available online here: https://bit.ly/ImproveFamilyJusticeUK.

Annual Access to Justice Week to Focus on Using Data to Address Legal Needs

The seventh annual Access to Justice Week will run from October 24 to 28, 2022. This year’s event will feature a series of workshops and presentations on the theme, “Access to Justice Counts: Using Data to Address the Legal Needs of Canadians”. The full schedule is now available. The public is invited to learn more by visiting the event website and register to attend events, which will take place virtually: https://lso.ca/theactiongroup/access-to-justice-week.

B.C. Government Publishes Intentions Paper on Regulatory Modernization and Seeks Feedback on Proposed Reforms

The British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General has published “Legal Professions Regulatory Modernization”, an intentions paper discussing B.C.’s legal services landscape, previous reform efforts in the province, and proposed reforms. Among the proposed reforms, the paper lists:

  • A single statute and a single regulator;
  • A clear mandate that communicates the regulator’s core responsibilities and powers;
  • A modernized governance framework;
  • A flexible licensing framework;
  • An efficient discipline framework to ensure that there are effective processes in place to maintain competence and professional conduct and practice among those subject to the regulation; and,
  • An enhanced focus on public interest.

For anyone interested in providing feedback to the proposals, the B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General invites written submissions via email at PLD@gov.bc.ca or feedback submitted via online survey at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultation/legal-professions-reform/. Submissions will be accepted until November 18, 2022.

Justice Canada Revises Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments

The Department of Justice Canada has made changes to the Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments. Incorporating feedback received from the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC), the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs (OCFJA) since 2016, the newly revised Questionnaire seeks to be more respectful and offer more inclusive language for candidates, among other changes. The Questionnaire is open to persons who wish to be considered for a federal judicial appointment.

For more information on changes to the Questionnaire, view the Department of Justice’s news release in English here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-justice/news/2022/09/government-of-canada-announces-changes-to-federal-judicial-appointment-questionnaire.html et en français ici : https://www.canada.ca/fr/ministere-justice/nouvelles/2022/09/le-gouvernement-du-canada-annonce-des-modifications-au-questionnaire-pour-les-nominations-a-la-magistrature-federale.html.

Access to Justice Week in Manitoba is October 24-28, 2022

Events for the third annual Access to Justice Week in Manitoba will run from October 24-28, 2022. The event will feature important conversations around access to justice in Manitoba and across Canada, including a presentation from Justice Canada representative, Susan McDonald on October 25 on People-Centered Data Collection. Access to Justice Week in Manitoba is being hosted jointly by the Manitoba Bar Association and the University of Manitoba.

For more information about Access to Justice Week, including the calendar of events, visit: https://lawsociety.mb.ca/access-to-justice-week-event-people-centred-data-collection-october-25-2022/.

Access to Justice Research Study Launched in Manitoba

The University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law and the Law Society of Manitoba have launched a study to learn about the legal service needs of Manitobans. The recently launched Access to Justice Research Study seeks to engage practising and non-practising lawyers and articling students for a short, confidential survey on Manitobans’ legal needs. Researchers hope that insights from the study will contribute to better alignment of policies and services with access to justice needs in Manitoba. The survey is estimated to take approximately 15 minutes to complete and it will remain open until Thursday, September 29.

This research is being spearheaded by Professor Gerard Kennedy (University of Manitoba Faculty of Law) and Natasha Brown (Manitoba’s Access to Justice Coordinator ). To read the news release about this study or to take the survey, visit: https://lawsociety.mb.ca/university-of-manitoba-joint-access-to-justice-research-study/.

Justice Department Publishes Report on Indigenous and Restorative Justice Approaches

A new report published by the Justice Department of Canada provides details on a panel discussion held in February 2022 on Indigenous and Restorative Justice Approaches. The panel discussion that informed the recently published Indigenous and Restorative Justice Approaches report was designed to help set the stage for the National Restorative Collaborative Learning Conference, taking place in October 2022. Key discussion themes at the February panel included: the need for greater awareness of concepts and terminology on Indigenous and restorative justice (Indigenous Justice, Customary laws, Restorative Justice, etc.); understanding the meaning of “justice”; and, more broadly, the need for more education and awareness among lawyers and legal professionals of how to be an ally to Indigenous peoples, the differences among and within First Nations, Inuit, Métis communities and cultures, among other, related topics.

The Justice Department’s report on Indigenous and Restorative Justice Approaches is available in English here: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/irja-afajr/index.html.

Le rapport de la table ronde : Approches fondées sur les Autochtones et la justice réparatrice est disponible en français ici : https://www.justice.gc.ca/fra/pr-rp/jr/afajr-irja/index.html.