ICLR 2017 – Panel: “Protecting the Vulnerable”

A synopsis of panel session 7, which takes place on 6 October at ICLR Singapore, kindly provided by the session’s moderator, Lim Tanguy – Chief Executive Officer, Law Society Pro Bono Services Limited. Conference materials will be made available to ICLR.net members after the conference.

This panel discussion will hear from regulators on the work that they have done, or intend to do, to promote or facilitate access to justice, the challenges they have faced, and potential initiatives that could create greater access to justice. The discussion will cover the following:

  • Initiating and implementing access to justice schemes
    Challenges in facilitating collaboration with various institutional, political and community stakeholders
  • How to promote pro bono volunteerism within the profession
  • Will a culture of pro bono volunteerism obviate the need for mandatory pro bono?
  • Can the regulator’s licensing scheme create greater access to justice?
  • The role of technology in relation to access to justice and what part can/should regulators play in this area.

The following panellists will be speaking:
Helena Whalen-Bridge, Associate Professor, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law: Helena will give an overview of the historical development of the Law Society of Singapore’s role/model in protecting the vulnerable through access to justice/pro bono programmes as well as emerging trends.

Kris Dangerfield, CEO, Law Society of Manitoba: Kris will be sharing the considerations/models the Law Society of Manitoba is exploring to ensure that the public has access to legal services at a reasonable cost. This will include consideration of a number of access issues including funding the legal training of students from under serviced communities (in return for a commitment to return to those communities), establishing a “one-stop” shop for the public to access services and legal information and authorizing the provision of some legal services by non-lawyers.

Tahlia Gordon, Director of Creative Consequences: Tahlia will be focusing on the role of technology (online legal document assembly portals, Artificial Intelligence legal information chatbots) in supporting access to justice and the role legal regulators can/could play in that sphere.

Lorna Jack, Chief Executive, Law Society of Scotland: Lorna will be sharing on the Law Society of Scotland’s access to justice initiatives.

Why is this session of particular interest and to whom?

The legal profession in many jurisdictions is held in high regard for the crucial role lawyers play in ensuring access to justice. However underpinning civilised society is the importance that access to justice is not just for ‘the wealthy’ but also for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Finding the right balance between ensuring access to justice for all and protecting the need of lawyers to earn fair remuneration for the exercise of their professional skills is a tension many regulators struggle with. The advent/promise of increasingly sophisticated technology platforms to deliver legal assistance (e.g. legal document assembly platforms, legal information chatbots) introduces an interesting new dynamic in this equation.

What do you hope to achieve with this session?

I hope that the session will produce a rich diversity of perspectives from different jurisdictions and equip regulators facing similar challenges with fresh insights for achieving access to justice for all and a thriving legal profession at the same time.

Anything you would like to ask the regulator community in advance of the session to inform the content/preparation?

On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important, how would you rate access to justice for the most vulnerable in your community as a priority for your organisation? (To facilitate responses to this question we have set up a place to comment in the Singapore 2017 group).

Brought to you by ICLR.