The Honourable Thomas Cromwell’s The Lawyer’s Daily columns explore topical issues related to access to civil and family justice in Canada. His latest column features an interview with Professor Katie Sykes of Thompson Rivers University’s Faculty of Law about a course that Professor Sykes created and teaches on “Designing Legal Expert Systems”. This course, like several others being offered at law schools across Canada, are fostering innovation among law students and engaging them to identify creative solutions to justice system challenges. “Access to Justice: Katie Sykes on Designing Legal Expert Systems” is published on The Lawyer’s Daily website here and can also be accessed online here.
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.
On October 21 and 22, LawConnect Ontario (a collaboration of CLEO and OJEN) and The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) will be hosting a conference on public legal education and information (PLEI) and access to justice. The conference, “Connect, Create, Communicate 2016”, welcomes participation from members of the legal profession, community workers, students, and others working in access to justice and PLEI.
TAG and LawConnect Ontario invite proposals for workshop sessions that will engage the public on issues pertaining to PLEI and Access to Justice.
Proposals can be submitted using the web form available at http://bit.ly/1Pa0PgX. All proposals must be received by 6pm on Monday June 27, 2016.
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.
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:
- Genn, Hazel. Paths to Justice: What People Do and Think About Going to Law (Portland, Ore: Hart Publishing, 1999).
- Cromwell, Thomas A. “Access to Justice: Towards a Collaborative and Strategic Approach” (2012) 63 U.N.B.L.J. 38.
- 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.
- Macfarlane, Julie. “The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants” (Kingsville, Ontario: Self-Published Report, April 2013).
- 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
- Wexler, Stephen. “Practicing Law for Poor People” (1970) 79(5) The Yale Law Journal
- 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)
- Hadfield, Gillian. “Higher Demand, Lower Supply? A comparative assessment of the legal resource landscape for ordinary Americans” (Feb. 2010) Fordham Urban Law Journal
- Australian Government – Productivity Committee – Access to Justice Arrangements (2014): http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/access-justice/report
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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/
- 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
- 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 email@example.com with “AJRN subscribe” in the subject line to join the conversation taking place on the listserv!
Please see below, a reminder from Sherry MacLennan, Director, Public Legal Information & Applications, Legal Services Society
This is a reminder that the Innovation and Access to Justice Conference is just a few weeks away – October 1 and 2. A few spots remain available and we are hoping to sell out. It is attracting a broad swath of interest from innovators across the legal community, ranging from government, law societies, legal aid, the private bar, PLEI providers and academics from across Canada.
This conference is in Montreal for the low registration fee of $175 to ensure the conference’s accessibility. However, this will increase to $200 on September 28. The final date to register is September 29. It will not be possible to register in person at the conference.
You may view the agenda and register at: http://iaj2015.openum.ca/registration/
**Repost from Canadian Legal Ethics listserv**
An exciting two day B.C. Continuing Legal Education Society conference called Access to Justice for Children will take place in Vancouver, at the Pan Pacific Hotel, on May 14-15, 2015.
From the conference description:
The Canadian legal profession is engaged in critically important discussions about access to justice. Ensuring access to justice for children must be a key component of those discussions. Children in Canada have broad legal entitlements under domestic and international law, including significant participatory rights, which have the potential to shape their everyday lives in positive ways and to protect them when they become involved in court, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or administrative processes […] All lawyers have obligations to prepare, with the participation of children, Child Rights Impact Statements for all legislative and policy decision making.
The conference agenda can be found here.
Keynote speakers include:
- Senator Raynell Andreychuk, a former lawyer, judge and diplomat and chaired the Senate Standing Human Rights Committee that produced the report Children: the Silenced Citizens on Canada’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and
- Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a B.C.’s Children’s Representative and a passionate advocate for children and for effective legal representation for them.
Other out of province speakers who are committed to advancing children’s rights include:
- Lucy McSweeney, the Children’s Lawyer for Ontario,
- Christian Whalen, Chair of the CBA National Children’s Law Committee, and
- Lisa Wolff, UNICEF Canada.
Judge Marion Buller and Judge Rose Raven from the B.C. Provincial Court and Justice Margot Fleming from B.C. Supreme Court) also bring their considerable knowledge and keen interest in justice for children to our access to justice discussions.
The Halifax Chronicle Herald features this opinion piece on law school fees.
Mirroring Noel Semple’s listserv post, this post mentions that the Windsor Yearbook on Access to Justice has become an open access journal.