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The Dean’s Forum on Access to Justice and Dispute Resolution (“Dean’s Forum”), held on March 10, 2020, focused on two initiatives: (1) The Design Lab for Creating Limited Licence Practitioner Pilot Projects; and (2) Next Steps in Exploring Family Justice in Saskatchewan. Again, this year, students implemented innovative approaches to invite attendees to collaboratively and creatively tackle the topics leading up to and at the event, as described in the below follow-up reports.
1. The Design Lab for Creating Limited Licence Practitioner Pilot Projects
The student researchers, Elaine Selensky, Haley Stearns, and Everhett Zoerb, authored a policy discussion paper that offers solutions for efficiently designing and implementing a new framework for limited legal service providers in Saskatchewan. More specifically, the students’ paper balances innovation with risk mitigation by suggesting a “regulatory sandbox” approach. It recommends continuous needs-assessment and evaluation through the lens of the Access to Justice Measurement Framework created by Access to Justice BC. The policy paper also outlines three potential pilot projects, developed with input from consultees, that could serve as starting points for a regulatory sandbox initiative.
During Dean’s Forum day, the student researchers facilitated a Design Lab, which involved key stakeholders with a range of perspectives and expertise. These stakeholders reviewed the student researchers’ policy paper, attended the morning presentation, contributed to an “idea wall,” and participated in “breakout sessions.”
The student researchers’ follow-up report outlines common themes from the Design Lab and recommendations for next steps. For more information, read these reports:
2. Next Steps in Exploring Family Justice in Saskatchewan
The policy discussion paper authored by student researchers, Melissa Nelson, Jenine Urquhart, and Miranda Wardman considered, primarily, the gap in access to justice surrounding family court forms in Saskatchewan. The key focus was Saskatchewan’s current Financial Statement form. The policy discussion paper delved into complexities of the Financial Statement form to understand: 1) the user perspective when filling out the Financial Statement form, and 2) how to redesign the Financial Statement form to make it easier for a typical self-represented litigant (SRL) to use. The student researchers’ policy paper highlighted the findings from the user design thinking sessions they ran with both professionals and students. After such sessions and consultations, the students provided a recommendation for a new Financial Statement form and redesigned a form based on Nova Scotia’s form. The students workshopped their redesigned form with Saskatchewan’s SRL Working Group before publishing and presenting it to Forum attendees.
After presenting their findings to Forum attendees, the student researchers split the attendees into groups, and supplied them with a copy of the redesigned Financial Statement form. Attendees were asked to fill the form out from their own perspective, followed by being provided an SRL scenario and being asked to fill out with their group a new redesigned form as the SRL.
The student researchers’ follow-up report outlines common themes from the day and recommendations for next steps. For more information, read these reports:
As stated above, stakeholders this year contributed to an “idea wall”. Melissa Craig and Allyse Cruise, participants in last year’s forum (2019), were happy to be invited back to run an “idea wall” at this year’s forum. The purpose of the wall was to consider this year’s topics through the lens of last year’s focal point: technology. The Dean’s Forum is a continuous thread. A throughline exists from one year to the next. Read more about the findings of the “idea wall”, and the interconnectedness between Dean’s Forum topics in the report below:
The report also collates reflections and feedback from the 2020 Dean’s Forum students and attendees. Students were invited to respond to a set of reflective questions and attendees were invited to fill out a feedback form following the Dean’s Forum. The reflections and feedback from students and attendees could help to inform future iterations of the Dean’s Forum initiative.