Parenting Assessments and Their Use in Family Law Disputes in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario

“Parenting Assessments and Their Use in Family Law Disputes in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario” is a recently published paper based on reviews of practice and procedure in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, and examines:

  • the extent to which these assessments are used and relied upon in courtroom decision-making;
  • and, whether there is a relationship between the cost of private assessments and the frequency of their use in these jurisdictions.

The report concludes with recommendations for further research to explore: the qualitative difference between assessments conducted by psychologists and psychiatrists compared to social workers and their impact on the settlement of family law disputes; the utility and feasibility of establishing standard guidelines or best practices for parenting assessments; and, options for shielding assessors from the damaging impact of unmeritorious complaints.

“Parenting Assessments and Their Use in Family Law Disputes in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario” was prepared by the the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) under the leadership of Zoe Suche, LL.B. and John-Paul E. Boyd, M.A., LL. B. The paper is available on the CRILF website.

The details in this post was taken from information circulated by CRILF.

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 for Children – Child Rights in Action Conference

The Access to Justice for Children – Child Rights in Action Conference will be held in Vancouver on May 11-12, 2017. It is an innovative, multi-disciplinary Conference (an international award winner in 2015) that will share the latest law, knowledge and practice tips to help better support children affected by justice and administrative decision-making.  Here are a few reasons to attend this Conference:

  1. Young people are integral to this Conference and rarely do we hear their perspectives to inform our work
  2. You will be the first to be introduced to the Canadian Bar Association’s Child Rights Toolkit, an online resource developed by various legal professionals from across Canada that will be brought to life at the Conference – you can use this long into the future – and better understand key themes that cross cut all areas of the justice system in your practice such as:
    • Cultural Competency and what this means for all of us arising from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Recommendations;
    • Children living free from all forms of violence; and
    • Child participation essentials from the perspectives of psychology, social work, and law enforcement as well as child and family serving agencies.
  1. This Conference counts towards your professional education credits whether you are a lawyer, mediator, Hear the Child Roster member, social worker, or other relevant professionals.

You can attend either in person or via webinar. To learn more about this conference, or to register, visit the conference webpage here: http://www.cle.bc.ca/1387/special-invitation/

 

Information about this Conference was provided by the Conference’s co-chair.

Professional Development series on Access to Justice

The Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee has developed a new professional development webinar series called, Better Client Service Series: Good for Clients, Good for Lawyers.

Three live 90-minute webinars are currently scheduled to take place as a part of this series. The themes are as follows:

  •  (March 7, 2017) Lasting Client Relationships: Intake Strategies that Build Long-Term Trust: Using client intake procedures to identify long-term needs and build client capacity;
  • (March 29, 2017) Made-to-Measure Legal Services: The Power of Limited Scope Retainers: Understanding the practical application of limited scope retainers and the associated professional responsibilities;
  •  (April 19, 2017) Intelligent Client Communications: Empowering Your Clients Through Clear Legal Writing: Drafting correspondence that optimizes clients’ understanding of their legal issues and helps them make effective decisions.

These webinars will be led by faculty who are well known in the access to justice arena.  More information about the webinar series can be found at the following link:  http://www.cbapd.org/details_en.aspx?id=NA_ona2j17.  Information about accreditation of the sessions for inclusion in continuing professional development hours is located here: http://www.cbapd.org/accreditation_en.aspx?id=NA_ONA2J17

Non-CBA members who work in Access to Justice are eligible for pricing discounts. Follow the links above for contact information and to learn more about this series.

 

Launch of a Major Project to Develop and Publish a Status Report on the State of Access to Justice in Canada / Lancement d’un grand projet visant à rédiger et à publier un rapport d’étape sur l’état de l’accès à la justice au Canada

As work to improve access to justice in civil and family matters continues to gain momentum across Canada, the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters is pleased to announce the launch of a major project to develop and publish a Status Report on the State of Access to Justice in Canada. The project will be carried out by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice.

The Action Committee was convened in 2008 by the Rt. Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, in order to develop consensus and priorities around improving access to civil and family justice in Canada, while also encouraging cooperation and collaboration between all stakeholders in the justice system. In 2013, the Action Committee published Access to Civil & Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change, which contains 9 Justice Development Goals that, if accomplished, will help to address the large and growing access to justice gap in Canada.

The first step in the project is to do an in-depth survey of organizations working to improve access to justice. The survey instrument, which is now available, is built around the Justice Development Goals. The survey can be completed on-line by any organization, institution or body that defines itself as engaging in activities designed to improve access to justice.

The next step will be to compile and publish the survey results. This will occur in time for the Action Committee’s next annual meeting in March of 2017.

I urge every organization working to improve access to civil and family justice to complete and return the survey and to encourage other organizations in your network to do the same. The value of the status report depends on the response level and I hope that you will support this ground-breaking project.

~ The Hon. Thomas Cromwell

This article was originally published here:
http://www.justicedevelopmentgoals.ca/blog/2016/11/23/survey


Alors que les efforts pour améliorer l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale se multiplient partout au Canada, le Comité d’action sur l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale est heureux d’annoncer le lancement d’un grand projet visant à rédiger et à publier un rapport d’étape sur l’état de l’accès à la justice au Canada. Le projet sera mené par le Forum canadien sur la justice civile.

Le Comité d’action a été formé en 2008 par la très honorable Beverley McLachlin, juge en chef du Canada, pour établir un consensus et des priorités concernant l’amélioration de l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale au Canada, tout en encourageant également la coopération et la collaboration entre tous les intervenants du système de justice. En 2013, le Comité d’action a publié le document intitulé L’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale : Une feuille de route pour le changement, lequel contient 9 objectifs de développement en matière de justice qui, s’ils sont atteints, aideront à combler l’écart important et grandissant en ce qui concerne l’accès à la justice au Canada.

La première étape du projet consiste à mener un sondage approfondi auprès des organisations qui travaillent à l’amélioration de l’accès à la justice. Le questionnaire du sondage, qui est maintenant accessible, repose sur les objectifs de développement en matière de justice. Le sondage peut être rempli en ligne par toute organisation, toute institution ou tout organisme qui se définit comme un participant à des activités conçues pour améliorer l’accès à la justice.

L’étape suivante consistera à compiler et à publier les résultats du sondage avant la prochaine réunion annuelle du Comité d’action qui aura lieu au mois de mars 2017.

J’incite fortement toutes les organisations qui travaillent à l’amélioration de l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale ainsi que les autres organisations faisant partie de leur réseau à répondre au sondage. La valeur du rapport d’étape dépend du taux de réponse au sondage et j’espère que vous appuierez ce projet novateur.

~ L’hon Thomas Cromwell

Cet article a été publié pour la première fois sur:
http://www.justicedevelopmentgoals.ca/blog/2016/11/23/sondage

Rise Women’s Legal Centre Opens in Vancouver

A new access to justice initiative has opened in Vancouver: The Rise Women’s Legal Centre.

The Centre is a full service nonprofit law firm focused on family law, and is a partnership between West Coast LEAF and the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law.  It is the “first of its kind in BC and will focus on providing women with much-needed legal representation in family law and related areas”.

For more information visit: http://www.westcoastleaf.org/2016/05/24/rise-womens-legal-centre-open-today/.

The Cost of Justice in Canada: Overview Report, Methodology and Survey

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has released several new publications from their Cost of Justice research project, which examines the cumulative social and economic costs associated with everyday legal problems. Stemming from this project are the following recent publications:

1)   “The Everyday Legal Problems and the Costs of Justice in Canada: Overview Report”

Gathering data from over 3,000 survey respondents, the Overview Report, available on the CFCJ website here, looks at the public’s experience with the justice system and the various costs (ex: monetary, physical and emotional) that it imposes.

2)   “Design And Conduct of the Cost of Justice Survey” 

This publication sets out the specific methodology used by the CFCJ research team to collate the survey data. The method of sampling, data collection, and data processing are discussed at length here.

3)   “Everyday Legal Problems and Cost of Justice: Survey” 

The Cost of Justice Survey was structured to determine the number of respondents who had experienced 84 specific legal problems. The 84 problems were grouped into 17 types, with a section of the survey being devoted to each type. The Survey can be accessed here.

4)   “Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada: Fact Sheet”

This (updated and revised) Fact Sheet summarizes some of the key findings arising out of the Overview Report. The Fact Sheet can be accessed here.

Access to Justice Research Report on Intimate Partner Violence in Family and Criminal Cases

Dr. Margaret Jackson, Director of the FREDA Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children, and The Honourable Donna J. Martinson, Q.C., LL.M., have released an access to justice report entitled: Risk of Future Harm: Family Violence and Information Sharing Between Family and Criminal Courts.

This report is grounded in their exploratory, qualitative study that deals with both family law and criminal law cases in which intimate partner violence (family violence) is an issue. The research focused primarily on violence against women and children.

Read the final report by The Honourable Donna Martinson, Q.C. and Dr. Margaret Jackson here: http://www.fredacentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Observatory-Martinson-Jackson-Risk-Report-FINAL-January-14-2016.pdf

Dr. Jackson and The Honourable Donna Martinson presented their research at B.C.’s Fifth Justice Summit (held in November 2015). The Report on the Fifth Summit will be released soon. The report on the Fourth Summit, entitled Better Responses to Violence against Women, is available here: http://www.justicebc.ca/shared/pdfs/FourthSummitReport.pdf

Access to Justice 101

Kathryn E. Thomson, PhD Candidate, UVic (Law), along with several AJRN listserv subscribers, have indicated publications that they would include on their “Access to Justice Top Ten Must-Read” list. There is a lot of valuable research and commentary worth revisiting or, for those of you who are new to the topic, discovering for the first time. Here are the recommendations:

  1. Genn, Hazel. Paths to Justice: What People Do and Think About Going to Law (Portland, Ore: Hart Publishing, 1999).
  2. Cromwell, Thomas A. “Access to Justice: Towards a Collaborative and Strategic Approach” (2012) 63 U.N.B.L.J. 38.
  3. Friedman, Lawrence M. “Access to Justice: Social and Historical Context” in Mauro Cappelletti and John Weiser (ed) The Florence Access-to-Justice Project (Milan: Doti.A.Giuffe Editore, 1978) Vol II, Book I.
  4. Macfarlane, Julie. “The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants” (Kingsville, Ontario: Self-Published Report, April 2013).
  5. Reports for the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, February 12, 2013. Online: Canadian Forum on Civil Justice: http://www.cfcj-fcjc.org/action-committee
  6. Wexler, Stephen. “Practicing Law for Poor People” (1970) 79(5) The Yale Law Journal
  7. Currie, Ab. The Legal Problems of Everyday Life: The Nature, Extent and Consequences of Justiciable Problems Experienced by Canadians (Ottawa: Department of Justice Canada, 2007)
  8. Hadfield, Gillian. “Higher Demand, Lower Supply? A comparative assessment of the legal resource landscape for ordinary Americans” (Feb. 2010) Fordham Urban Law Journal
  9. Australian Government – Productivity Committee – Access to Justice Arrangements (2014): http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/access-justice/report
  10. McEown, Carol. “Civil Legal Needs Research Report (Report prepared for the Law Foundation of BC March 2009, 2d ed) online: Law Foundation of British Columbia: http://www.lawfoundationbc.org/wp-content/uploads/Civil-Legal-Needs-Research-FINAL.pdf
  11. Brewin, Alison & Stephens, Lindsay. Legal Aid Denied (2004): http://www.westcoastleaf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2004-REPORT-Legal-Aid-Denied-Women-and-the-Cuts-to-Legal-Services-in-BC.pdf
  12. Brewin, Alison & Govender, Kasari. Rights-Based Legal Aid (2010): http://www.westcoastleaf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2010-REPORT-Rights-Based-Legal-Aid-Rebuilding-BCs-Broken-System.pdf
  13. Track, Laura, (in collaboration with Shahnaz Rahman and Kasari Govender. Putting Justice Back on the Map (2014): http://www.westcoastleaf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2014-REPORT-Putting-Justice-Back-on-the-Map.pdf
  14. CBA Access to Justice Committee. Reaching equal justice report: an invitation to envision and act (2013): http://www.cba.org/CBA/equaljustice/secure_pdf/EqualJusticeFinalReport-eng.pdf
  15. Roderick MacDonald’s work on access to justice in Canada – a list of his words can be found here: http://people.mcgill.ca/files/roderick.macdonald/macdonald-pubs.pdf
  16. Cohl, Karen & Thomson, George. “Connecting Across Language and Distance: Linguistic and Rural Access to Legal Information and Services” (2008): http://www.lawfoundation.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/The-Connecting-Report.pdf
  17. CLEO’s Centre for Research and Innovation host a research database through the PLE Learning Exchange website. The database is an annotated bibliography of research on public legal education and information (PLEI) issues from Canada and other jurisdictions, and also contains some papers on A2J generally where PLEI is referenced: http://www.plelearningexchange.ca/research/research-database/
  18. Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters. “Access to Civil & Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change” (2013): http://www.cfcj-fcjc.org/sites/default/files/docs/2013/AC_Report_English_Final.pdf
  19. The National Self-Represented Litigants Project blog by Professor Julie Macfarlane houses many A2J articles: http://representingyourselfcanada.com/

Please note that this list isn’t exhaustive and additional suggestions are welcome. What publications would you include on your “Top Ten” list?

Send an email to communications@cfcj-fcjc.org with “AJRN subscribe” in the subject line to join the conversation taking place on the listserv!

Self-Rep Navigators

A Toronto-based lawyers group has launched the “Self-Rep Navigators” to direct legal services towards self-represented litigants. Described as “a hub for connecting self-represented litigants to supportive lawyers and high quality resources both online and offline”, Self-Rep Navigators have established a website at www.limitedscoperetainers.ca and list lawyers who will take clients on a limited scope retainer/ at fixed fees for civil and criminal matters, and those offering the same types of services to family clients.

Heather (hh@litigation-help.com) and Michael (mhassell@trialcounsel.ca) would like to hear from any other lawyers interested in being a part of this group.

You can find the full write up about Self-Rep Navigators here.