The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters is a group representing all sectors of the civil and family justice system as well the public. The group was assembled at the invitation of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada in 2008 and since that time, more than 50 individuals and groups from all sectors of the civil justice system in Canada have participated in its work.1
The Action Committee is focused on fostering engagement, pursuing a strategic approach to reforms and coordinating the efforts of all participants concerned with civil justice while continuing to work nationally to advance access to justice in Canada. The nine Canada’s Justice Development Goals are looking at ways to address everyday legal problems, improve family justice, looking at ways for courts to be accessible, and improve funding strategies.
In response to its Roadmap for Change call to action prepared by the Action Committee, a collaborative entity has been established in every province and territory in Canada. The diverse groups represent hundreds of organizations, working toward meaningful improvements in access to justice including research, project models, data collections and other innovations.
One of the strategic directions in the Law Society of Saskatchewan’s 2016-18 Strategic Plan is to improve the access to legal services. As such, the Law Society is working to advance access to justice by focusing on public understanding of accessible justice issues as an everyday issue embodies a healthy democracy. Understanding the importance of legal health and predictability of legal issues will benefit individuals and will transform the access to justice conversation into an issue relevant for all. For the latest Access to Justice Bulletin provided by the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Working Group, you can read it here: bit.ly/2uIKSLZ.
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has established a Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services and is working to identify practical initiatives to improve access. Law societies across Canada have undertaken or are exploring important access initiatives including programs of forgivable loans for students from remote communities, surveys of the legal needs of residents, and increases to the scope of legal services that may be provided by non-lawyers. The Standing Committee will be sharing these and other ideas on a national scale in the near future2. In addition, the Federation’s Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services has produced an inventory of access to legal services initiatives of Canada’ law societies, including the Law Society of Saskatchewan.
To keep the conversation top of mind, the Law Society of Saskatchewan encourages you to take this quick quiz to test your knowledge on legal health and to share it among your colleagues, family and friends. The Law Society also encourages you to spread the message socially by using the hashtag #justiceforall and to follow on Twitter and Facebook @ActionCommA2J.
HYPERLINK TO GOALS: http://www.justicedevelopmentgoals.ca/
HYPERLINK TO ROADMAP: http://www.cfcj-fcjc.org/sites/default/files/docs/2013/AC_Report_English_Final.pdf
HYPERLINK TO INVENTORY: https://flsc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/services6.pdf