Access to Justice Advocate – Dianne Wintermute

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice

We are excited to announce our new blog series Access to Justice Advocates! The series is a response to recent reports that have underscored the importance of innovation and imagination in the pursuit of access to justice. At the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, we understand that such efforts come down to people – to the diverse advocates working in different and important ways across the access to justice landscape. Our first Advocate is Dianne Wintermute, Staff Lawyer at the ARCH Disability Law Centre. Check out her interview and profile here

Access to Justice Co-Ordinating Committee

By: Chantel Amato

Earlier this year, several leaders in Nova Scotia’s justice and legal community launched a new collaborative effort – the Access to Justice Co-Ordinating Committee (A2JCC). Provincial Justice Minister Lena Metlege Diab and the Hon. Chief Justice Michael MacDonald are leading the initiative, acting on recommendations outlined in the Action Committee final report, Access to Civil & Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change.

The Terms of Reference for the Committee can be viewed here.

Great ERSS Example!

The Halton Community Legal Services, with funding from the Legal Aid Ontario’s Fund to Strengthen Capacity of Legal Clinics, has developed the Legal Health Check-Up Project. This initiative focuses on being proactive rather than reactive to everyday legal problems. The “check-up”, which can be accessed here, helps those living in poverty get help they need to solve their problems before litigation becomes necessary. The clinic points out that many people do not easily identify their problems as legal ones and often do not get help, which sometimes leads to other problems.

This initiative is currently moving into a preliminary phase to collect data while actively providing services. A list of participating clinics can be found here.

Ab Currie, Senior Research Fellow at the CFCJ, has written a blog post about this initiative on the A2J Blog.

New Access to Justice Commission Formed in Arizona

A new State access to justice commission was formed last week in Arizona. To read about the new commission click here.

For those looking for resources on how to form and operate an A2J commission you may want to visit the American Bar Association Access to Justice Resource Centre. While the A2J Commission system is slightly different in the US than what is developing here in Canada – many of the resources are transferable.

Transforming Ideas into Action: A Special Edition of the CFCJ Newsletter

By: Nicole Aylwin

Since the release of the Action Committee’s Final Report last October, justice stakeholders across the country have taken up the challenge to find new ways to innovate, collaborate and inspire others to increase access to justice. Last week the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice published a special edition of its newsletter dedicated to profiling emerging A2J initiatives across the country.

Read the special edition here.

Legal Aid and International Human Rights Standards

By: John-Paul Boyd

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada has just released a draft report for public comment, “The Right to Legal Aid: How BC’s Legal Aid System Fails to Comply with International Law.” The authors argue that reductions in funding leave “even the most basic legal aid needs of British Columbians” unmet, with a disproportionate impact on women and marginalized groups, which ultimately undermines the “entire justice system.” The authors note that the inadequate funding of legal aid has social impacts that extend far beyond the justice system to affect the “social fabric of British Columbians and their economy.”

Read the LRWC’s statement on the new report. Download the report in Word format or as a PDF.

Read Ian Mulgrew’s article on the new report from the Vancouver Sun.