The Canadian Bar Association has released a new guide aimed at addressing the country’s access to justice crisis. The guide has been developed by the CBS’s Access to Justice Subcommittee, based on past research, particularly the Reaching Equal Justice Report. The guide is divided into three different sections, with each section providing background to the issues and links to resources created by the CBA. The sections are broken down into
- Preventing Problems – focused on improving legal capability, taking legal health seriously, enhancing triage and referral systems to navigate paths to justice as quickly and efficiently as possible, and taking steps to ensure that technology is well used to facilitate equal, inclusive justice.
- Providing Legal Services – focused on reinventing the delivery of legal services so that a wide spectrum of legal services are available to meet the range of legal needs.
- Transforming Justice – focused on reforming the formal justice system, complementing informal everyday justice innovations and eliminating gaps between formal and informal justice to create a seamless civil justice system.
The goal of the guide is to give members the information and tools to talk about access to justice with colleagues, clients and communities, post on social media about access to justice issues, and to speak with politicians about the problems – and possible solutions.
The guide says “As lawyers and notaries, we have a professional duty to the courts, the justice system and the public. We need people to feel confident that the justice system is fair and accessible to all. Governments need to invest more and develop creative solutions to our access to justice problem. Change only comes when governments are pressured to act.”