Making A2J Matter to the Public

The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters launched the #justiceforall campaign designed to raise public understanding of accessible justice challenges as a component of a healthy democracy.

A next step in transforming the A2J landscape is to engage the public by raising awareness of the importance of justice issues in Canada.  Building a public understanding of the importance of legal health and the predictability of legal issues throughout one’s life will benefit individuals and will transform the access to justice conversation into an issue relevant to citizens, decision makers, and voters. As long as access to justice challenges are only understood within the justice system, the possible solutions will be limited to the scope of influence, resources and imagination of the justice system.

The Action Committee is asking the A2J leaders in Canada, to help raise the profile of A2J efforts. If you are a leader in A2J, a bencher, a legal academic, a judge or a lawyer with a personal following, we would also welcome your participation in collectively raising this issue. To participate in the social media campaign or add a button on your website, there are links, instructions and graphics available at: www.calibratesolutions.ca/actioncommitteecampaign

Starting a public conversation about access to justice will shift the perception of the issue to a holistic understanding of the law as a part of daily life that can be understood and managed throughout one’s life, often with the help of legal professionals.

This post also appears online here.

Intéresse le public de A2J

Le Comité d’action sur l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale a commencé la campagne #justicepourtous vise à faire réaliser au public que l’accès à la justice est, en fait, l’accès aux solutions de leurs problèmes juridiques de tous les jours et un élément d’une saine démocratie.

L’étape suivante dans la transformation du paysage de l’accès à la justice est de mobiliser le public en sensibilisant les gens à l’importance des questions de justice au Canada. Sensibiliser le public à l’importance de la santé juridique et à la prévisibilité des problèmes juridiques au cours de leur vie profitera aux individus et permettra de transformer les discussions sur l’accès à la justice en une question concrète et pertinente pour les citoyens, les décideurs et les électeurs. Tant et aussi longtemps que les défis en matière d’accès à la justice sont seulement compris par le système de justice, les solutions possibles seront limitées au champ d’action, aux ressources et à l’imagination du système de justice.

Le Comité d’Action vous demande, comme un des A2J leaders au Canada, nous aider à faire connaître nos A2J efforts parmi le public. Si vous êtes un leader, un conseiller, un juge ou un avocat avec un personnel suivant, nous accueillerions aussi votre participation soulevant collectivement à cette question. À participer à la campagne de medias sociale ou mettre un bouton sur votre site nous avons des liens et le graphisme sont tout disponibles à: www.calibratesolutions.ca/actioncommitteecampaign

Lancer un dialogue public sur l’accès à la justice changera la perception du problème et amènera une compréhension plus globale de la loi comme étant un élément de la vie quotidienne qui peut être compris et géré tout au long de la vie d’une personne, souvent avec l’aide de professionnels de la justice.

Cet article a été publié pour la première fois ici.

 

Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report / Initiatives canadiennes d’accès à la justice Rapport d’étape annuel sur la réalisation des objectifs de développement de la justice and Working Data Document

The Action Committee’s “Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report” has been published and is available in both English and French on the Action Committee webpage. This Report uses the nine Justice Development Goals set out in the Action Committee’s “A Roadmap for Change” report as a framework to explore current initiatives and to identify areas for future work in access to justice in Canada. The Justice Development Goals Status Report was produced by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice.

In addition, the Forum has also published the “Status Report: Working Data Document”, which includes data from the “Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report”, as well as raw data from the recent Justice Development Goals Survey that is not discussed in the Report.

Access to Justice in the Northwest Territories: Survey Results, Inventory Project and Terms of Reference

In response to growing access to justice concerns in the Northwest Territories, the NWT Access to Justice Committee recently surveyed 36 justice stakeholders to uncover specific access to justice barriers and potential responses to address them.

Survey Results:
The survey respondents included resident lawyers, non-resident lawyers, court workers staff, crown witness coordinators, and social workers. In addition to selecting from several listed potential barriers, respondents were invited to include and elaborate upon non-listed barriers.

The top 3 access to justice barriers as identified by respondents all pertained to the issue of self-representation:

1)   Ineligibility of middle-income litigants for Legal Aid

2)   Inadequate resources for self-represented litigants

3)   Difficulty finding local lawyers with requisite legal expertise

Some of the other identified barriers were more of a systemic nature, including the inaccessibility of courtroom facilities and services for persons with disabilities, intimidating courtroom formalities, and a lack of adequate legal education.

For a more comprehensive view of the access to justice barriers and creative solutions offered by survey respondents see: Survey results report- April 21.

Inventory Project:
Commissioned by the NWT Access to Justice Committee, Yellowknife consultant Aggie Brockman recently produced an inventory to provide litigants and justice professionals with a comprehensive listing of legal services information. The inventory is arranged alphabetically by legal problem type (ex: Elder Abuse, Employment, Family Violence, Privacy, Youth…etc.) and contains web links, email addresses and phone numbers for convenient access. In order make the inventory as user-friendly as possible, Aggie received structural suggestions and input from 35 project participants (all justice stakeholders). The Inventory Project Report explains how the project was conducted with some insightful quotes and anecdotes from project participants. Furthermore, the actual inventory can be accessed  here: Access to Justice – Inventory and Gaps- 2016.

Terms of Reference:
From an access to justice perspective, there are many distinct challenges facing the NWT including geographic, cultural and language barriers as well as infrastructural barriers. The aim of the NWT Access to Justice Committee (“Committee”) is to identify the barriers that impede access and to recommend firm responses to address them. To see the Terms of Reference that characterize the purpose, structure, and scope of the NWT Access to Justice Committee, click here: TOR – Committee – Final. Also, to view the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Law’s (“NAC”) Final Report upon which the Committee will make its recommendations click here.

 

Action Committee Meeting of Provincial and Territorial Access to Justice Groups

On March 13, 2015 the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters (the Action Committee) convened a meeting for existing provincial and territorial access to justice groups (P/T A2J groups), many of which were formed in response to recommendation 5.1 of the Action Committee’s Roadmap Report.

The purpose of the meeting was to reflect on the progress made by these groups over the past year, discuss the access to justice initiatives underway in different jurisdictions, highlight promising developments, learn from common challenges, and consider collaborations and cooperation among justice stakeholders that could be further supported by the Action Committee.
The report can be accessed in English here and in French here.

The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters Convenes a Meeting of Provincial and Territorial A2J Groups

In March the Action Committee on Access to Justice and Family Matters convened a meeting of provincial and territorial access to justice groups.

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice has posted a short blog on the meeting as well as short updates from A2J groups in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Access them here.