The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has published a major report that examines the return on investment in access to justice in several regions, including North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Australia and Asia. The report concludes that, “across a diversity of justice programs, services and mechanisms around the world, spending on justice results in significant economic and other benefits that generally significantly exceed the value of the investment.” In most cases, the rate of return on investment in justice services and programs is between CAD $9 and $16 for every CAD $1 that is spent.
This new report is one of ten international background reports commissioned by the Task Force on Justice to help inform their efforts towards equal access to justice for all by 2030 (UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.3).
Investing in Justice – A Literature Review in Support of the Case for Improved Access is available for download on the CFCJ website here: https://cfcj-fcjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Investing-in-Justice-A-Literature-Review-in-Support-of-the-Case-for-Improved-Access-by-Lisa-Moore-and-Trevor-C-W-Farrow.pdf.
In April 2019, Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO’s) funding was cut by $133 million, a 29% reduction in LAO’s budget. Further, in reducing funding tor LAO, the provincial government indicated that provincial funds could no longer be used for matters related to refugee and immigration law.
On Wednesday, September 11 from 2:30pm – 4:00 pm the Centre for Refugee Studies at Osgoode Hall Law School will host a seminar to discuss the impacts of these cuts, advocacy efforts in response to the cuts in legal aid funding, the one-time injection of $26 million in funding provided by the federal government to help offset the impacts of the cuts, as well as the future of access to justice for refugee claimants and non-citzens in this context.
For more information on the upcoming Legal Aid for Refugee Claimants Seminar, visit the following page: https://crs.info.yorku.ca/archives/event/crs-seminar-legal-aid-for-refugees?instance_id=158.
This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Refugee Studies, the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice and the Canadian Associaion of Refugee Lawyers (Osgoode Students).
A new inventory containing information on 88 legal digital tools aims to offer the Canadian public a way to conveniently access information on digital tools to address their legal needs. The inventory, which is currently in draft form, includes information from various areas of law including family, criminal, employment, and immigration. For each tool included in the inventory, information is provided on the cost (including if the tool is free to use), the intended user of the tool, the function, the type of law that it relates to and the developer of the tool. A brief description is also provided for each tool.
The Inventory of Digital Tools was created by Professor Amy Salyzyn (University of Ottawa) and JD students, William Burke and Angela Lee. The development of this inventory builds on previous research by Professors Jena McGill, Suzanne Bouclin, and Amy Salyzyn on the potential use of mobile and web-based applications to improve access to justice. For more information on the Inventory of Digital Tools or to provide feedback, visit the following webpage: https://techlaw.uottawa.ca/direct-public-legal-digital-tools-canada.
The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has announced the launch of the first phase of a project aimed at “Measuring the Impacts of Legal Service Interventions”. This new project, which is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO), will focus on the development of a longitudinal impact study that assesses the effectiveness of different types of legal service interventions on the outcome of particular types of legal disputes. The study will also seek to measure the impacts on the long-term health of clients, while providing necessary insights into the costs and benefits of such interventions.
Having a better and more accurate understanding of how different types of legal interventions impact the outcome of a dispute can help to provide the public with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about how to deal with their legal problem(s) and potentially improves their legal capabilities. It can help governments, policy makers and funders to understand which justice pathways and tools show the most promise in particular scenarios, and this type of information can also assist legal service providers with decisions around how to allocate budgets and scale different services.
The press release for this newly launched Law Foundation of Ontario funded project can be accessed here: http://cfcj-fcjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Measuring-the-Impact-of-Legal-Service-Interventions-CFCJ-LFO-Press-Release.pdf.
The World Justice Project has published its first Global Insights on Access to Justice report, which presents comparable data on experiences of everyday legal problems and access to justice by people around the globe. The report highlights a range of noteworthy findings, including the pervasiveness and frequency of civil justice problems worldwide and that most people do not go to courts or seek legal assistance from lawyers when trying to resolve their problems.
Based on surveys carried out in more than a 100 countries, the report found that almost half –49%— of people experienced at least one legal problem within the last two years. Overall, the most common types of problems were consumer problems, housing problems, and problems related to money and debt. The Global Insights report also emphasizes the adverse impacts of legal problems on peoples’ physical and mental health, as well as the significant access to justice barriers that people face when trying to deal with their legal problems.
The data in Global Insights report derives from the World Justice Project’s General Population Poll (GPP), which was carried out in 101 countries and jurisdictions in 2017 and 2018 with a sample of 1,000 respondents in each country (and over 100,000 people worldwide).
Global Insights on Access to Justice 2019 is available on the World Justice Project website here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/global-insights-access-justice-2019.
A new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Open Society Foundations provides a framework for the development, implementation and evaluation of legal needs surveys to measure access to civil justice. Tools and indicators to assess aspects of civil justice systems have been slow to develop, in particular when compared to criminal justice systems. The newly published Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice report offers guidance to create and assess legal needs surveys that is based in learnings and best practices gleaned from a review of more than 20 years of legal needs surveys carried out throughout the world
The three, central dimensions of access to justice that form the bases of the evaluative legal needs framework in the report include:
- The nature and extent of unmet legal and justice needs;
- The impact of unmet legal and justice needs on individuals, the community and the state; and
- How specific models of legal assistance and dispute resolution are utilised to meet needs.
The Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice report is available online here: https://www.oecd.org/governance/legal-needs-surveys-and-access-to-justice-g2g9a36c-en.htm.
Leaders from more than 50 justice organizations in British Columbia have signed on to support the newly launched Access to Justice Triple Aim initiative. Endorsing Triple Aim signifies a commitment to working to improve access to civil and family justice in BC in three important ways:
- Improving access to justice at the population (or sub-population) level
- Improving the experience of users who need access to justice
- Improving costs, which includes reducing costs in other sectors because of the benefits of improved access to justice
Access to Justice Triple Aim was convened by Access to Justice BC, a network of justice sector organizations and stakeholders and members of the public connected by a shared vision to advance access to justice in BC. The Triple Aim concept originates from the healthcare sector where improvements in the US healthcare system have similarly been coordinated around three goals – health, cost and care.
The press release for the Access to Justice Triple Aim initiative is available on the Access to Justice BC website here: https://accesstojusticebc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Cross-sector-justice-agreement.pdf. Additional information is also available here: https://accesstojusticebc.ca/2019/06/the-triple-aim-a-cross-sector-vision/ and in a Slaw blog published here: http://www.slaw.ca/2019/06/13/over-50-justice-organizations-agree-to-a-common-access-to-justice-goal-that-puts-user-experience-at-the-centre/.
On May 30th, 2019, the Global Centre for Pluralism will be hosting the Canadian launch of the Task Force on Justice’s “Justice for All” report. The event is being hosted in partnership with the Task Force on Justice and the International Development Research Centre. The “Justice for All” report explores the extent of the global justice gap, the cost of injustice, the benefits of investing in justice, along with other important, topical access to justice issues.
The launch of the report will take place from 8:30-10:00 am EDT in Ottawa and will also be live-streamed. This launch is one of many events that has been organized as part of the Open Governance Partnership Summit (Tuesday 28 – Friday 31 May, 2019): https://www.justice.sdg16.plus/ogpjustice.
Additional information on the Open Governance Partnership Summit and the launch of the report can be found here: https://www.pluralism.ca/event/justice-for-all-canadian-launch-of-the-report-of-the-task-force-on-justice/.
The “Justice for All” report is available in English, French and Spanish here: https://www.justice.sdg16.plus/report.
“Justice for All”, a new report by the Task Force on Justice published in April 2019, explores the global justice gap and, in particular, the impacts on poor and marginalized peoples. The report proposes a people-centered approach to justice, which starts with an understanding of people’s justice needs and designs solutions to respond accordingly. The Task Force identifies a global justice gap with three dimensions:
- At least 253 million people live in extreme conditions of injustice
- 5 billion people cannot resolve their everyday justice problems
- 5 billion people are excluded from the opportunities the law provides
Overall, two-thirds of the world’s population lack meaningful access to justice. The report notes that the burden of this injustice is not randomly distributed across populations. Structural inequalities are reflected in the justice gap, meaning that vulnerable groups find it hardest to access justice. The report also discusses the benefits of investing in justice, makes recommendations for action and calls on all partners to come together in a global and sustained effort to deliver justice for all by 2030.
“Justice for All”, the report of the Task Force on Justice is available online here: https://cic.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/task_force_on_justice_report_conf_version_29apr19_1_1_1_compressed.pdf .
A “Justice for All” fact sheet, press release and graphics are available here: https://www.justice.sdg16.plus/report.
The Task Force on Justice is an initiative by the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies that aims to contribute to better justice outcomes for people and communities throughout the world. The Task Force’s High-Level Group on Justice for Women (HLG) was formed to build a better understanding of, and present evidence on justice problems that uniquely and disproportionately affect women and girls. The High-Level Group’s primary objectives are:
- Measuring the justice gap for women and girls
- Making the case for action and investment in access to justice for women and girls
- Identifying strategies, approaches, and reforms for increasing access to justice
- Determining what commitments national and local actors can make to close the justice gap, along with what cooperation is needed between international and regional actors to support access to justice at the national level
Justice, human rights and gender experts from all over the world recently worked together for the High-level Group’s global report on Justice for Women which identifies women’s justice needs and the challenges facing women worldwide. The report also presents an economic case for reform and investment in justice for women, identifies actions that can be taken to accelerate progress, and presents a call to action based on several major directions that could significantly accelerate progress toward justice for women.
“Justice for Women: High-Level Group Report” can be found here: https://www.idlo.int/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/Justice-for-Women_report-web-FINAL.pdf.
The Justice for Women Executive Summary and Infographics can be accessed here: https://www.idlo.int/publications/justice-women-high-level-group-report.