Upcoming A2J-Related Events

ACCESS TO JUSTICE WEEK (October 23 – 27) Ontario
The 2nd annual Access to Justice Week is underway with various events taking place across Ontario. Live streaming and webcast links are available here for some remaining events.


IMMIGRATION LAW: LAW AT THE LIBRARY SERIES (October 28) at 2516 Alta Vista, Ottawa
This event is geared towards new immigrants to Canada and individuals with questions about immigration and visiting Canada. The Immigration Law – Law at the Library Series event will cover information on applying for visas, permanent residency, becoming a Canadian citizen, legal rights and more.


EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: INFORMATION SESSION (October 30) at 130 Queen Street West, Toronto
This information session will discuss the strategies that the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) will be putting in place to help address discrimination and racism in the legal profession.


CANFest 2017 (November 1) at 130 Queen Street West, Toronto
This event will provide information on the Coach and Advisor Network (CAN) and offer visitors an opportunity to meet participants in the Coach and Advisor Network.


TAKE OUR KIDS TO WORK AT OSGOODE HALL 2017 (November 1) at 130 Queen Street West, Toronto
The goal of this event is to educate students in Grade 9 about the steps to becoming a legal professional.


#140DOWN – NOW WHAT? THE FUTURE OF LAWYERING IS HERE (November 3) at Fort Garry Place Banquet & Conference, Winnipeg
Innovators, analysts and experts in the legal field will be among the presenters and attendees at the 140th Isaac Pitblado Lecture on the theme of Now What? The Future of Lawyering is Here. More information on this event is available online at http://www.pitbladolectures.com. The program agenda is available online here.


THE ONTARIO AI LEGAL CHALLENGE (November 10)
The initiative aims to engage companies in a challenge to create affordable legal services solutions that incorporate artificial intelligence. The deadline for submissions to the challenge is November 10, 2017, with a top prize of $80,000. In addition to the main prize, the 6 companies that make it to the semi-final round will have access to mentors and other services offered through Ryerson University’s Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ).


MAKE A WILL – LAW AT THE LIBARAY SERIES (November 15) at 2516 Alta Vista, Ottawa
This information session will focus on wills and estates law. Attendees will learn about the importance of having a will, what happens in the absence of a will and the importance of powers of attorney.


17TH ANNUAL FRANCHISE LAW CONFERENCE (November 16) at 20 Toronto Street, Toronto
This Ontario Bar Association event  will include two special workshops and several roundtables and will explore trends and developments in franchise law.


LEGAL FUTURES INNOVATION CONFERENCE: CHANGING THE GAME (November 21) at 250 Bishopsgate, London
This conference in London will highlight major changes over the past 10 years that have occurred in law firms, the range of legal and non-legal services offered, technology and the Law and other related topics in the legal field.

Final Report of the Bach Commission now Available

The Bach Commission on Access to Justice was created in 2015 to develop “realistic but radical proposals…for re-establishing the right to justice as a fundamental public entitlement” in England and Wales. Recent changes in funding and eligibility requirements for legal aid have placed even more strain to a justice system that is said to be in crisis. In response to what the Commission argues are “widespread” and “varied” problems in the legal system, their final report proposes a legally enforceable Right to Justice Act that will ultimately serve to “create a new legal framework that will…transform access to justice”.

The Right to Justice, the final report of the Bach Commission is available online here.

The Crisis in the Justice System in England and Wales, the Commission’s interim report published in November, 2016 is available online here.

The Practice of Family Law in Canada: Results from a Survey of Participants at the 2016 National Family Law Program

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) has published a new research paper based on findings from a survey of more than 200 lawyers and judges who attended the 2016 National Family Law Program. The National Family Law Program is a high-profile, 4-day biennial conference organized by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, that addresses current issues in the practice of family law in Canada. Topics addressed in the study include participants’ views of and experiences with: court-attached family justice programs; hearing the views of children; issues in custody and access disputes; issues in disputes about child support and spousal support; family violence; unified family courts; and, limited scope legal services in family law disputes.

The research paper was written by Lorne Bertrand, Jo Paetsch, John-Paul Boyd and Nick Bala and the study was funded by the Department of Justice and the Alberta Law Foundation.

The English version of the paper is available on the CRILF website here; the French version is available on the CRILF website 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.

 

“Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs” – First Annual Report from The White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable

The White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (WH-LAIR) has released their first annual report, entitled “Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs”. The report exemplifies the ability and utility of including civil legal aid as one of the tools used by agencies, legal aid service providers, the U.S. Department of Justice and others to affect change in communities and for vulnerable peoples.

The following related publications are available online:
Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs Report: https://www.justice.gov/atj/page/file/913981/download

White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable Issues First Annual Report to the President Press Release: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/white-house-legal-aid-interagency-roundtable-issues-first-annual-report-president

Fact Sheet: https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/914066/download

Blog Post: WH-LAIR Designated Co-Chairs Announce First Annual Report to the President

“The Crisis in the Justice System in England and Wales” – Interim Report from the Bach Commission on Access to Justice

In 2015, British Labour member of the House of Lords, Lord Willy Bach was tasked by several leading members of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party with conducting a review of the legal aid system. In response, Lord Bach created a commission with the larger goal of carrying out a review of access to justice in England and Wales. The first report on the Bach Commission’s findings was published in November, 2016 and is available here: http://www.fabians.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Access-to-Justice_final_web.pdf

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.

Study on Legal Problems of Renters (UK)

There is a new study from the UK entitled: “Understanding the Legal Problems of Renters”.  This report by Pascoe Pleasence, Nigel Balmer and Catrina Devnir is available here: http://www.thelegaleducationfoundation.org/report/understanding-the-legal-problems-of-renters . It is part of a broader study on “How People Understand and Interact with the Law”.

The webpage highlights the following key findings of the study:

  • The latest figures show that over a third of all households in England and Wales were rented, which makes the ability of renters to resolve housing-related legal problems a major issue for society.
  • Few renters realized that their housing difficulty was a legal problem, nearly half (47 per cent) put it down to bad luck.
  • The renters most likely to experience housing-related legal problems are the young, single parents, and unmarried couples with children.
  • Legal problems with rented housing take a long time to resolve: half lasted more than a year; a quarter were still unresolved after two years.
  • Renters are more likely than those living in other types of accommodation to have higher levels of non-housing-related legal problems – such as with domestic violence, divorce, welfare benefits and personal injury.
  • Those renting privately (rather than in the public sector) were the most likely to have non-housing-related legal problems; the least likely were those who owned their homes outright.

It is noted on the webpage that “people living in rented accommodation are twice as likely to experience some kinds of non-housing-related legal problems as those living in other types of housing”.

Additional research and reports by the Legal Education Foundation are available here: http://www.thelegaleducationfoundation.org/research.

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!