The Judicial College of England and Wales has updated the Equal Treatment Bench Book. The Judicial College, which is responsible for training the courts’ judiciary, recently published a revised, 422-page Equal Treatment Bench Book that includes new sections on anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, modern slavery and multicultural communication, expanded sections on litigants-in-person (self-represented litigants) as well as glossaries, useful suggestions and more. All information provided in the revised Equal Treatment Bench Book adheres to the existing legal framework. The newly updated Equal Treatment Bench Book is available online here: www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/equal-treatment-bench-book-february2018-v5-02mar18.pdf.
On January 31st, the World Justice Project (WJP) released its latest Rule of Law Index Report. This report is an annual publication that includes rule of law assessments of countries based on their level of adherence to 44 indicators grouped into the following 8 categories:
- Constraints on Government Powers
- Absence of Corruption
- Open Government
- Fundamental Rights
- Order and Security
- Regulatory Enforcement
- Civil Justice
- Criminal Justice
Countries are also evaluated on their adherence to a ninth factor – informal justice—that is not included in the aggregate scores. This year’s report includes assessments for 113 countries. The scores and rankings are based on data gathered from two sources: a General Population Poll (GPP) that is disseminated in the 3 largest cities of each country included in the ranking and, a Qualified Respondents’ Questionnaire (QRQ) that gathers responses from in-country experts in civil and commercial law, criminal justice, labor law and public health.
The 2017-2018 Rule of Law Index is available online here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP_ROLI_2017-18_Online-Edition.pdf.
Previous Rule of Law Index publications can be accessed on the WJP website here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/wjp-rule-law-index/previous-editions-wjp-rule-law-index.
The World Justice Project (WJP) has published its first-ever Global Insights on Access to Justice: Findings from the World Justice Project General Population Poll in 45 Countries report. The report is based on data gathered from an access to civil justice survey conducted with over 1,000 respondents in the 3 largest cities of the 45 countries included in the report. The survey questions were based on the following 11 themes:
- Types of legal problems experienced in the last two years
- Problem seriousness
- Sources of (professional and informal) help and advice
- Residual problem resolving behavior, such as attempts to learn more about the legal issue
- Reasons for advice not being obtained.
- Resolution process, through formal and informal means
- Fact and manner of conclusion
- Perceptions of the quality of the process and outcome
- Cost of problem resolution
- Legal capability, awareness, and confidence
- Impact of experiencing a legal problem
The report is organized by country with data presented according to the paths that respondents followed to deal with their everyday legal problems, with an emphasis on:
- Incidence of Legal Problems
- Action or Inaction
- Status of Legal Problems
- Process, Perceptions & Legal Capability
The Global Insights WJP report, international poll, methodology paper and summary statistics report can all be accessed here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/global-insights-access-justice.
A new Global Insights report by the World Justice Project (WJP) indicates that 1 in 3 people (31%) who experience legal problems in the United Kingdom experience stress or physical health problems as a result. The Access to Justice survey that was conducted for this report also found that:
- 1 in 10 people in the UK who experience a legal problem within a 2-year period also experience a relationship breakdown as a result of their legal problem.
- Almost 1 in 5 (18%) lost their job, faced financial strain or experienced housing issues because of legal problems they experienced within the reference period of the survey.
Trouble with neighbours was the most commonly experienced legal problem type reported by respondents in the UK survey with 1 in 5 (20%) experiencing this problem. Other common legal problems include:
- Accessing benefits or care
- Problems with Landlords
- Debt-related problems, including paying credit cards, utility bills or loans
- Harassment at work
This article provides an overview of the survey results for the UK and discusses the findings in the context of other recent reports as well as budget cuts to the UK’s Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (Laspo) Act in recent years: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2018/jan/29/one-in-three-people-with-legal-problems-in-uk-develop-health-issues-report.
For more on physical and mental health problems related to everyday legal problems in Canada, see the recent Canadian Forum on Civil Justice report published here.
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 LIBRARY 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.
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 Crisis in the Justice System in England and Wales, the Commission’s interim report published in November, 2016 is available online here.
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.
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.
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
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