Investing In Justice Saves More Money Than It Costs – New CFCJ Report

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.

New Inventory of Digital Tools To Help Canadian Public Address Their Legal Needs

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.

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Launches Project to Measure Long-Term Impacts of Access to Legal Help

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.

UVic’s Access to Justice Centre for Excellence Publishes New Reports that Explore Key Learnings for Enhanced Empirical Justice Research

What can the province of British Columbia learn from initiatives in other jurisdictions about enhancing justice data quality and expanding empirical research, evaluation and measurement? The “Learning from Justice Metrics Models in Other Jurisdictions” report produced by Tim Roberts and Associates Consulting for the University of Victoria Access to Justice Centre for Excellence (UVic ACE) looks at initiatives that offer insight on conducting empirical justice research. The report includes findings from Australia, the United States, the Netherlands, the U.K., and Canada on how different initiatives have enhanced data quality, driven data sharing, and facilitated an expanded research and evaluation agenda. “Learning from Justice Metrics Models in Other Jurisdictions” is available on the UVic ACE website here: https://ajrndotco.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2a1cb-acejusticemetricsmodelsinotherjurisdictions-feb2019.pdf.


UVic ACE’s “A Supreme Lack of Information” report published in March, 2019 explores the lack of information available on civil cases initiated in B.C.’s Supreme Court. This study is a follow up to a 2015 study published by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) that found significant information gaps in court records in B.C.’s Supreme Court. The report identifies the purpose of this new study by UVic ACE as:

  • To identify the challenges encountered in conducting the CFCJ ‘Attrition Study’, and explore their significance
  • Consider what changes would need to be made to data collection processes in the B.C. Supreme Court in order to better answer the original study’s questions and meet the research objectives, and to provide a high level plan for such changes, and
  • Identify any legal, financial or administrative problems or complications that would be encountered in making such changes to the system

The “A Supreme Lack of Information” study was carried out by Tim Roberts and Associates Consulting for UVic ACE. It is available on the UVic ACE website here: https://ajrndotco.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/48fa3-attritionfollow-upreport-feb2019.pdf.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Publishes Issue on Access to Justice Crisis

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ quarterly journal, Dædalus, recently dedicated an entire issue to America’s access to justice crisis. The issue, which is available online for free, was edited by Lincoln Caplan, Lance Malcolm Liebman, and Rebecca L. Sandefur. This first-of-its-kind open access issue on access to justice by the well-known U.S. journal includes twenty-four essays by researchers, professors, access to justice advocates and others. The essays examine a range of civil legal services issues being faced by low-income Americans, various barriers to creating a responsive justice system, and opportunities for improving access to justice through technology, innovation and new approaches. The Dædalus issue on access to justice is available here: https://www.amacad.org/daedalus/access-to-justice.

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Publishes New Cost of Justice Reports

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has published three new reports based on data from their national Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada study.

EVERYDAY LEGAL PROBLEMS AND THE COST OF JUSTICE IN CANADA – SURVEY DATA

The full data set from the CFCJ’s Everyday Legal Problems and Cost of Justice of Justice in Canada survey is now available! As part of the CFCJ’s national 7-year study on the Cost of Justice, over 3,000 adults in Canada were asked about their experiences with civil and family justice problems, the costs (monetary and non-monetary) of experiencing one or more civil or family justice problems and their views on the justice system.

The data from this national Cost of Justice survey has been published and is available on the CFCJ website here: http://cfcj-fcjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Everyday-Legal-Problems-and-the-Cost-of-Justice-in-Canada-Cost-of-Justice-Survey-Data.pdf.


EVERYDAY LEGAL PROBLEMS AND THE COST OF JUSTICE IN CANADA – INCOME

Is there a connection between annual household income and experiences of civil or family justice problems in Canada? A new Cost of Justice report is now available that includes data from the CFCJ’s national Cost of Justice survey organized into three annual income groups: Less than $60,000, $60,000 – $125,000, and More than $125,000.

View the Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada – Income report on the CFCJ website here: http://cfcj-fcjc.org/wp-content/uploads/INCOME-Everyday-Legal-Problems-and-the-Cost-of-Justice-in-Canada.pdf.


EVERYDAY LEGAL PROBLEMS AND THE COST OF JUSTICE IN CANADA – SPENDING ON EVERYDAY LEGAL PROBLEMS

Almost 50% of people who experience an everyday legal problem spend some money trying to resolve their problem. Based on findings from the CFCJ’s national Cost of Justice study, average spending on legal problems is approximately $6,100. That is almost as much as Canadian households spend on food in a year. The newly published Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada – Spending on Everyday Legal Problems report offers additional insights on monetary spending on civil and family justice problems based on demographic characteristics recorded in the CFCJ’s Cost of Justice survey, as well as pathways used to try to resolve legal problems.

This new Cost of Justice report is available on the CFCJ website here: www.cfcj-fcjc.org/wp-content/uploads/SPENDING-Everyday-Legal-Problems-and-the-Cost-of-Justice-in-Canada.pdf.

UVic Access to Justice Centre for Excellence Launches Newsletter

The University of Victoria Access to Justice Centre for Excellence (UVic ACE) has launched a newsletter!

NEWSLINKS is a new UVic ACE publication that collates recent news and information from the media, the courts, government and the academy that will be of interest to people working to advance access to justice in British Columbia and elsewhere. The first issue of NEWSLINKS includes coming events, links to recent articles on A2J and Legal Education, A2J and Legal Practice and A2J and Self-Represented Litigants, as well as links to recent research and reports on access to justice.

To view the first issue of NEWSLINKS, click here: UVic ACE NEWSLINKS Issue 1. To subscribe to NEWSLINKS, visit: www.uvicace.com.

International research project seeks to scale access to community-based justice

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ), located at Osgoode Hall Law School, is joining forces with researchers in Kenya, Sierra Leone and South Africa to build a business case for scaling community-based justice services.

Funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Community-Based Justice Research (CBJR) project is a newly-launched, collaborative research initiative that aims to advance collective understanding of the costs, opportunities, and challenges of community-based justice programs. In doing so, this project will play a significant role in supporting the improvement of access to justice at the community level.

This project speaks directly to Goal 16.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which requires countries to ensure equal access to justice for all of their citizens. Community-oriented justice services fill gaps in the delivery of legal services in many otherwise underserved areas; they facilitate early legal problem resolution, and they empower individuals to engage in society to protect their legal rights. By helping to provide the evidence needed to understand, assess and scale these types of access to justice programs, this project will help countries to better develop and deliver justice to their communities.

The Community-Based Justice Research project is planned in close collaboration with the IDRC, the Katiba Institute in Kenya, the Center for Alternative Policy Research and Innovation (CAPRI) in Sierra Leone and the Centre for Community Justice and Development (CCJD) in South Africa with support from Open Society Foundations (OSF), and will incorporate research methodologies and learnings from the CFCJ’s own 7-year (2011-2018) national, people-centered research project on “The Cost of Justice”.

The press release for the Community-Based Justice Research project is available on the CFCJ website here: http://cfcj-fcjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Press-Release-CFCJ-CBJR-International-Research-Initiative-Seeks-to-Scale-Access-to-Community-Justice.pdf.

To learn more, please also visit the Community-Based Justice Research project page here: http://cfcj-fcjc.org/our-projects/community-based-justice-research-cbjr/.

Cyberjustice Laboratory launches major “Autonomy through Cyberjustice Technologies” Research Project

The Cyberjustice Laboratory (Laboratoire de Cyberjustice) in Montreal has launched a 6-year research initiative to examine artificial intelligence in the justice sector. This Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded project includes 16 sub-projects, and a multi-disciplinary and international team of 45 researchers and 42 partners.

The Autonomy through Cyberjustice Technologies (ACT) research project by the Cyberjustice Laboratory will provide greater understanding of the socio-legal and ethical underpinnings of applying and integrating artificial intelligence tools within the justice system. More information about this important research initiative, being led Professor Karim Benyekhlef, Direcor of the Cyberjustice Laboratory, is available in the press release, available in English here: http://cyberjustice.openum.ca/files/sites/102/PressReleaseACT.pdf, and in French here: http://www.cyberjustice.ca/files/sites/102/CommuniqueAJC-VFinale.pdf. Visit the Autonomy through Cyberjustice Technologies (ACT) website here: https://www.ajcact.org/.

Law Reviews are now available on CanLII

The Canadian Legal Information Institutes’s (CanLII’s) secondary sources section now includes law reviews. As it is explained in the CanLII announcement, “Law reviews are often the only place a particular topic is discussed, and they often provide insight into the law for a particular jurisdiction where no one else does that make them invaluable for research.” Information on how to search law reviews, the law reviews that are currently available and how to recommend other law reviews to be included on CanLII is available here: https://blog.canlii.org/2018/03/23/%e2%98%80%ef%b8%8f-we-now-have-law-reviews-on-canlii-%e2%98%80%ef%b8%8f/.

(Photo credit: CanLII)