The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has published five new reports based on data from their Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada study. As part of this national study, over 3,000 people in Canada were surveyed about their attitudes towards and experiences with the justice system in Canada. Specifically, they were asked about their views on the Canadian justice system, the kinds of civil and family justice problems they experience, their methods of dealing with these problems, and the associated costs they incur to resolve them. The five new reports present survey data broken down according to the following respondent characteristics: “Age,” “Gender,” “Canadian Region,” “Education” and “Born in Canada”. The reports are published on the CFCJ’s “Cost of Justice” page and can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlinked titles below:
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.
As our collective understanding of what constitutes “family” continues to change and evolve, the legislation governing the formation and dissolution of family relationships may appear to be lingering behind. In a new paper prepared for the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF), John-Paul E. Boyd explores both the legal components and general public perceptions surrounding polyamorous relationships in Canada. Boyd begins the paper by citing the preliminary findings from the CRILF’s 2016 study on Canadian perceptions of polyamory. After breaking down the data, Boyd moves on to discuss the legal dimensions of polyamorous relationships in the context of the various provincial family law schemes.
Finally, Boyd concludes the paper by posing some questions for members of the family bar to consider when thinking about polyamorous relationships and how they may affect a range of issues, such as:
- a) Immigration: Can a married spouse sponsor someone coming into Canada to join his or her relationship?
b) Public employment benefits: Can CPP benefits and employee health benefits be shared with more than 1 other person?
- c) Wills and estates: To what extent does legislation accommodate concurrent surviving spouses? To what extent can children born from a ménage inherit from non-biological parents who die intestate?
- d) Adoption and assisted reproduction: How many adults can be legal parents of a child?
- e) Vital statistics: Can vital statistics agencies be compelled to register more adults as the parents of a child than the biological or adoptive parents of child?; and
- f) Education and health care: To what extent can education and health care providers be compelled to take instructions from the members of a ménage other than child’s biological parents?
For a more fulsome discussion of the legal dimensions of polyamorous relationships and to see the preliminary results of the 2016 survey, take a look at the report.
The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters launched the #justiceforall campaign designed to raise public understanding of accessible justice challenges as a component of a healthy democracy.
A next step in transforming the A2J landscape is to engage the public by raising awareness of the importance of justice issues in Canada. Building a public understanding of the importance of legal health and the predictability of legal issues throughout one’s life will benefit individuals and will transform the access to justice conversation into an issue relevant to citizens, decision makers, and voters. As long as access to justice challenges are only understood within the justice system, the possible solutions will be limited to the scope of influence, resources and imagination of the justice system.
The Action Committee is asking the A2J leaders in Canada, to help raise the profile of A2J efforts. If you are a leader in A2J, a bencher, a legal academic, a judge or a lawyer with a personal following, we would also welcome your participation in collectively raising this issue. To participate in the social media campaign or add a button on your website, there are links, instructions and graphics available at: www.calibratesolutions.ca/actioncommitteecampaign
Starting a public conversation about access to justice will shift the perception of the issue to a holistic understanding of the law as a part of daily life that can be understood and managed throughout one’s life, often with the help of legal professionals.
This post also appears online here.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
In response to growing access to justice concerns in the Northwest Territories, the NWT Access to Justice Committee recently surveyed 36 justice stakeholders to uncover specific access to justice barriers and potential responses to address them.
The survey respondents included resident lawyers, non-resident lawyers, court workers staff, crown witness coordinators, and social workers. In addition to selecting from several listed potential barriers, respondents were invited to include and elaborate upon non-listed barriers.
The top 3 access to justice barriers as identified by respondents all pertained to the issue of self-representation:
1) Ineligibility of middle-income litigants for Legal Aid
2) Inadequate resources for self-represented litigants
3) Difficulty finding local lawyers with requisite legal expertise
Some of the other identified barriers were more of a systemic nature, including the inaccessibility of courtroom facilities and services for persons with disabilities, intimidating courtroom formalities, and a lack of adequate legal education.
For a more comprehensive view of the access to justice barriers and creative solutions offered by survey respondents see: Survey results report- April 21.
Commissioned by the NWT Access to Justice Committee, Yellowknife consultant Aggie Brockman recently produced an inventory to provide litigants and justice professionals with a comprehensive listing of legal services information. The inventory is arranged alphabetically by legal problem type (ex: Elder Abuse, Employment, Family Violence, Privacy, Youth…etc.) and contains web links, email addresses and phone numbers for convenient access. In order make the inventory as user-friendly as possible, Aggie received structural suggestions and input from 35 project participants (all justice stakeholders). The Inventory Project Report explains how the project was conducted with some insightful quotes and anecdotes from project participants. Furthermore, the actual inventory can be accessed here: Access to Justice – Inventory and Gaps- 2016.
Terms of Reference:
From an access to justice perspective, there are many distinct challenges facing the NWT including geographic, cultural and language barriers as well as infrastructural barriers. The aim of the NWT Access to Justice Committee (“Committee”) is to identify the barriers that impede access and to recommend firm responses to address them. To see the Terms of Reference that characterize the purpose, structure, and scope of the NWT Access to Justice Committee, click here: TOR – Committee – Final. Also, to view the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Law’s (“NAC”) Final Report upon which the Committee will make its recommendations click here.