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APRIL 2017

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What are the access to justice initiatives that are currently underway in Canada and what are the areas where more work is needed? The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, in support of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, recently conducted the first-ever national Access to Justice Development Goals Survey to gain insight into the state of access to justice in Canada. This Survey forms the basis of the Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report, which details the progress, and identifies gaps, challenges and successes in the access to justice work that is being done throughout Canada. This Status Report was produced by Lisa Moore, Nicole Aylwin and Trevor Farrow and is available on the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice website here.
 
Le Forum canadien sur la justice civile, en soutien du Comité d’action sur l’accès à la justice en matière civile et familiale, a récemment réalisé le premier sondage national en ce qui concerne les neuf objectifs de développement de la justice du Comité d’action.  Ce sondage avait pour objet d’aider à orienter un rapport de situation national sur l’accès à la justice au Canada.  << Initiatives canadiennes d’accès à la justice : rapport d’étape sur la réalisation des objectifs de développement de la justice >> vise à éclairer un débat national sur l’état de l’accès à la justice au pays dans un tableau décrivant les initiatives en cours et indiquant des domaines d’action pour l’avenir. Ce rapport a été produit par le FCJC sous la direction de Lisa Moore, Nicole Aylwin et Trevor Farrow. Il est disponible sur la site web du Forum canadien ici.

The Status Report: Working Data Document, published by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, provides additional details about the key findings presented in the Action Committee's Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report. The 125-question Justice Development Goals Survey, which was carried out between late 2016 and early 2017, generated a large of volume of data, some of which is not included in the Justice Development Goals Status Report. The Working Data Document includes data from the Report, as well as the raw data from the Survey that is not discussed in the Report. The Working Data Document can be accessed online here.

Le forum canadien sur la justice civile est très heureux d’annoncer que << Les problèmes juridiques de la vie quotidienne et le coût de la justice au Canada : rapport général >> est présentement disponible en français. Ce rapport général fait partie du projet sur les coûts de la justice (2011-2018) qui examine les coûts sociaux et économiques du système de justice canadien.

Les problèmes juridiques de la vie quotidienne et le coût de la justice au Canada : rapport général est disponsible sur notre site web ici.

The Legal Health Check-up Project, developed by Halton Community Legal Services (HCLS), is an intermediary partnership program involving 12 community legal clinics in Southwestern Ontario and 125 partnerships with community organizations and service agencies. The Project was developed as a way to provide information and assistance (related to everyday legal problems) to disadvantaged people. "Engaging the Power of Community to Expand Legal Services for Low‐Income Ontarians" is the complete report on the Legal Health Check-Up Project. This Report was prepared by CFCJ Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Ab Currie, in his capacity as Research Consultant to the Legal Health Check-­up Project and is available on the CFCJ website here.
Data from the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice's Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada study indicates that, "50% of people try to resolve their problems on their own with no or minimal legal or authoritative non-legal assistance.” In "A Changing Role for Lawyers in the Age of Self-Represented Litigants", CFCJ Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Jennifer Leitch, discusses the rise in self-representation, the changing profile of the self-represented litigant, the challenges that self-represented litigants face and how the increase in self-representation is affecting the traditional legal system. Read "A Changing Role for Lawyers in the Age of Self-Represented Litigants," published on the CFCJ A2J blog here.
In his blog, "Social Impact Bonds and Access to Justice," CFCJ Research Assistant, Quin Gilbert-Walters explores the potential for Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) to be used to further access to justice projects and initiatives. SIBs are “pay-for-success” contracts between investors and public sector groups, where funding is provided for projects aimed at improved social outcomes. Objectives and targets are clearly idenitfied at the outset and investors receive a return on investments in successful programs. Read about SIBs, their risks and rewards and how they may provide a source of funding for justice initiatives in Quin's blog, published on our website here.

HOUSE OF COMMONS PRESENTATION

On February 2, 2017 Dr. Ab Currie, Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, appeared as a witness at the House of Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights in connection with the report on Access to Justice (Legal Aid) currently being prepared by the Committee. As part of his presentation Dr. Currie presented the results of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice's survey on Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of the Justice in Canada. Key messages in the presentation were: 

  1. Think of access to justice as more than access to the courts and,
  2. Think of legal aid as more than a transactional system linking lawyers with people appearing in court but who cannot afford to pay privately for counsel. Think of legal aid as a policy instrument to address access to justice issues.

ACTION COMMITTEE INNOVATION ROUNDTABLE

CFCJ Staff and researchers were thrilled to be among the attendees at the recent Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters' Innovation Roundtable. This Roundtable offered a day of presentations and dicussions centered on addressing the "implementation gap" in access to justice reform.

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