New Book Examines What is Working and Not Working to Improve Access to Civil and Family Justice

The Justice Crisis: The Cost and Value of Accessing Law edited by Trevor C.W. Farrow and Lesley A. Jacobs is a newly published book that provides an in-depth look at what is working and not working to improve access to civil and family justice in Canada.

The Justice Crisis uses new empirical research to explore the value associated with the provision of an effective justice system and the costs – individual and collective – of not providing accessible justice. The national and international importance of and the need for this kind of research is widely acknowledged.

Contributors to The Justice Crisis: The Cost and Value of Accessing Law include: Carolyn Carter, Thomas A. Cromwell, Ab Currie, Matthew Dylag, Trevor C.W. Farrow, Heather Heavin, Lesley A. Jacobs, Devon Kapoor, Michaela Keet, Jennifer Koshan, Herbert M. Kritzer, Moktar Lamari, Marylène Leduc, M. Jerry McHale, Lisa Moore, Janet Mosher, Pierre Noreau, Mitchell Perlmutter, Catherine Piché, Noel Semple, Lorne Sossin, Michael Trebilcock, Wanda Wiegers and David Wiseman.

The book’s foreword is written by The Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell, CC.

The Justice Crisis: The Cost and Value of Accessing Law is part of the 7-year Cost of Justice project led by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice. The Cost of Justice project was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The Justice Crisis: The Cost and Value of Accessing Law was published by UBC Press and is available here: www.ubcpress.ca/the-justice-crisis.

View the press release for The Justice Crisis: The Cost and Value of Accessing Law online here: https://news.yorku.ca/2020/09/02/new-evidence-on-the-justice-crisis-making-the-case-for-reform/.

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.

UNODC, UNDP Report Explores Ways to Ensure Access to Justice in the Context of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect justice systems around the world in unprecedented ways. From widespread court closures to dramatic increases in incidences of domestic violence, employment, housing and other civil justice problems, the impacts are extensive. They are also present additional challenges for vulnerable and marginalized populations.

A new report by UNODC and UNDP presents several considerations for legal practitioners and policy makers to help ensure access to justice during the current global health crisis. The “Ensuring Access to Justice in the Context of COVID-19″ report is divided into 3 sections: Preparation, Response and Recovery. While the report does not seek to be exhaustive in its discussion of important measures to consider during the crisis (as well as during subsequent waves of outbreaks), it highlights important considerations for the justice community to effectively respond to challenges in the short-, medium- and long-term.

“Ensuring Access to Justice in the Context of COVID-19” is available for download here: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/ensuring-access-justice-context-covid-19.

New Report Discusses Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19

“Justice For Women Amidst Covid-19” is a newly published report that outlines some of the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed access to justice for women around the world.

The report documents both new challenges and pre-existing gender justice gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, including an increase in domestic violence, and implores that urgent action to be taken. With stay-at-home orders in effect to varying extents globally, many local avenues for help have not been available or accessible to women.

Director-General of IDLO, Jan Beagle urges that we not make gender equality and women’s rights a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. She adds that, “as the risk of gender-based violence continues to grow during the pandemic, and the ability of justice institutions to effectively deliver services is diminished, it is of utmost priority to forge innovative ways to support women’s access to justice and empower them to realize their rights.”

The report also makes the case for investment in justice services and programs that will benefit women and girls and presents strategies to improve access to justice for women.

“Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19” was jointly produced by UN Women, IDLO, UNDP, UNODC, World Bank and The Pathfinders for Justice; the report is supported by The Elders. “Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19” is available in full here: https://www.justice.sdg16.plus/justiceforwomen.

HiiL Report Outlines New Ways Of Thinking About How To Fund Justice

“Charging for Justice” is a new report that explores different ways of thinking about how to fund justice. The report examines how money comes into the justice sector and discusses ways to gain better access to the resources that are necessary to move the dial on equal access to justice for all (UN SDG 16.3).

Millions of people around the world face obstacles to resolve their legal problems, lack necessary protections through the law and are otherwise in unsafe situations that they find difficult to extricate themselves from. The “Charging for Justice” report urges a change in thinking about how to fund justice that is supported by research that demonstrates the far-reaching economic, social, environmental and health benefits of accessible, effective, efficient and well-funded justice services and programs.

Charging for Justice – SDG 16.3 Trend Report 2020 was published by The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) and is available online here: https://www.hiil.org/projects/charging-for-justice/.

World Justice Project Publishes 2020 Rule of Law Index

The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2020 is now available. This report offers comparable, independent data on rule of law around the world, including insights on changes in rankings within regional and economic groupings as well as changes to individual rule of law factors for each country. Data in the 2020 report was gathered from more than 130,000 household surveys and 4,000 legal expert surveys in 128 countries.

In addition to the 2020 Rule of Law Index, the World Justice Project has also released an interactive, user-friendly data map with global and country insights, data highlights and other information from the 2020 Index.  The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2020 and the Rule of Law Index 2020 Interactive Data Map are both available here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/wjp-rule-law-index-2020.

New Report Presents Findings from Largest Ever Legal Needs Survey in England and Wales

Findings from the largest ever legal needs survey to be carried out in England and Wales are now available in the recently published “Legal Needs of Individuals in England and Wales” report. A summary report has also been released. Data in the reports are based on a survey of over 28,000 people in England and Wales in 2019. This representative population sample covers more than 30 different legal issues. This is also the first legal needs study in England and Wales to apply Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidance for the development of the survey.

This legal needs survey was commissioned by the Law Society and the Legal Services Board. The summary report and full report can be accessed online here: https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/research-trends/legal-needs-of-individuals-in-england-and-wales-report/.

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.

Osgoode Hall’s Centre for Refugee Studies to Host Seminar on Legal Aid for Refugee Claimants

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).

 

 

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.