New Report Highlights Importance of Community-Based Access to Justice

Community Justice Help: Advancing Community-Based Access to Justice” is a discussion paper by Julie Matthews (Executive Director of Community Legal Education Ontario) and Professor David Wiseman (University of Ottawa Faculty of Law) that explores the role of community justice workers in improving access to justice. The paper also discusses support mechanisms and tools that could further advance the contributions of community justice helpers.

“Community Justice Help: Advancing Community-Based Access to Justice” offers a framework that describes important elements of good quality community justice help. These include:

  • Community justice helpers have the knowledge, skills and experience they need;
  • Community justice helpers work within a not-for-profit organization and an ethical infrastructure; and,
  • Community justice helpers provide holistic support to meet clients’ multi-dimensional needs.

The framework is intended to support the recognition of the following, important elements for improving community-based access to justice:

  • That community justice help is an important and valid component of the broader ecosystem of access to justice services
  • That all components of the ecosystem must be adequately supported through public funding and other means; and
  • That community justice help already aligns with the regulatory framework overseen by the LSO for the practice of law and the provision of legal services.

The Community Justice Help paper is informed by a literature review, discussions with members of the justice, not-for-profit and academic communities, and interviews with key staff working in community-based organizations.

“Community Justice Help: Advancing Community-Based Access to Justice”, a discussion paper by Julie Matthews and David Wiseman is available online here: https://cleoconnect.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Community-Justice-Help-Advancing-Community-Based-Access-to-Justice_discussion-paper-July-2020.pdf.

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