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Access to Justice Blog

Analysis and opinions from the leading voices in access to justice research.

Nova Scotia Help
Ab Currie, PhD
Jun 30, 2016

The traditional legal aid model has focused on providing legal solutions to a series of problems that have been narrowly defined as “legal.” The reality, however, is that strictly legal problems are often embedded within a cluster of non-legal problems. Therefore, in order to effectively respond to the growing legal need in this country the legal aid model must reorient its approach to client service. This type of “culture shift” is something that the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters has advocated for in its 2013 white paper entitled “Access to Civil and Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change.”

In his recent piece on the changing culture of legal aid in Nova Scotia, CFCJ researcher Ab Currie highlights four service areas where the Nova Scotia Legal Aid program (NSLA) has responded to the National Action Committee’s call for change. The four service areas are as follows:

1)  ... Read More

Nicole Aylwin
Jun 30, 2016

The best way to improve any system is to work with and receive feedback from the individuals who are engaged in that system. In her recent trip to the Yukon, CFJC Research Fellow and Winkler Institute Assistant Director Nicole Aylwin met with the Yukon Courts, Department of Justice, and other justice stakeholders to discuss the benefits of a “Human-Centered Design” (HCD) approach to civil justice reform. This approach has led to several recommended improvements in the civil justice system, including the complete redesign of the family law statement of claim as part of the Yukon Simplified Form Innovation Project. To read about Nicole’s reflections from the Yukon summit and her work using the HCD approach to civil justice reform click here.

**Nicole Aylwin's article, Human-Centered Design and the Justice System: Lessons from the Field, was written for, and originally published on**

Issue of the Month
David Wiseman
Jun 29, 2016

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.

As introduced in a previous CFCJ Newsletter, this research project aims to identify the role of paralegals in the Ontario residential tenancy dispute resolution system and to... Read More

Cost of Justice in Canada
The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
May 31, 2016

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

Cost of Justice Fact Sheet
The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
May 31, 2016

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.