Access to Justice Blog
Analysis and opinions from the leading voices in access to justice research.
A further and final year of data gathered for this case study has reinforced the message that paralegals, who purportedly offer more affordable and accessible legal services than lawyers, are continuing to make a significant contribution to the resolution of residential tenancy disputes in Ottawa, but only for landlords and, largely, for corporate landlords. The reinforcement of this message across a data set now spanning five years of residential tenancy dispute cases for the Eastern Region of the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario further solidifies a conclusion that who provides more affordable and accessible legal services can have an impact on whose legal needs are serviced. This, in turn, raises more fundamental questions about whether access to justice is really being improved in this context at all.
The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) is thrilled to annouce the publication of three papers from our SSHRC-funded "Cost of Justice" research project. These papers are based on findings from the CFCJ's Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada survey, the first national survey in almost ten years to measure the frequency and ways in which members of the Canadian public experience everyday legal problems. It is also the first survey of its kind to explore what these problems cost, not only in dollars, but also to the state and to the physical and mental health of the public who use our justice system.
These papers -- Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada: Overview Report by Trevor C.W. Farrow, Ab Currie, Nicole Aylwin, Les Jacobs, David Northrup and Lisa Moore, Design and Conduct of... Read More
The 2014 Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada fact sheet has been updated and revised based on the findings presented in the recently published Everday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada: Overview Report. The updated fact sheet is posted on the CFCJ website here. A French version of the fact sheet is forthcoming.
Results from the CFCJ’s 2014 study on the civil legal needs of Canadians indicate that most Ontarians do not obtain formal legal advice when faced with a legal problem. One might conclude that this is because the cost of obtaining lawyers has become too expensive, yet the research findings suggest otherwise. In “The Resolution of Legal Problems in Ontario”, Mathew Dylag indicates that perception and an understanding of what is at stake may be more likely indicators of whether individuals will seek out formal legal advice. To learn more about the legal consumer habits of Ontarians, read Matthew's paper here.
In 2015, as part of the SSHRC-funded “Cost of Justice” project, the CFCJ conducted a study of 495 civil, non-family cases filed in the BC Supreme Court that appeared to lack resolution through court processes. The resulting “Civil Non-Family Cases Filed in the Supreme Court of BC, Research Results and Lessons Learned” report highlights several challenges related to this type of access to justice research including, the inability to contact claimants, limitations related to the currency and completeness of court records and difficulties extracting an appropriate sample of cases. As a follow-up to the findings in this report, the CFCJ has produced a fact sheet that provides an overview of some of these challenges and recommendations for improvements. “The Data Deficit: The Case for Improving Court Records for Future Access to Justice Research” fact sheet is posted on the CFCJ website... Read More