Welcome to issue 3 of NEWSLINKS, a newsletter produced by the Access to Justice Centre for Excellence (ACE) at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law.

You'll notice that we're trying out a new format, making it easier for you to read and share current stories about access to justice developments in Canada. You'll also find a contribute section towards the bottom of the page, where you can submit stories for our next issue. 

Click below to share this issue of NEWSLINKS with your network. 
ACE responded to the BC Law Society's Alternate Legal Service Provider Working Group's consultation paper about Family Law Legal Service Providers
Download the Letter
New project launch: Out-of-Pocket Family Law Costs 
ACE's recently completed Out-of-Pocket tool helps to put a dollar figure on the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by individuals and families during a family law dispute. It is designed to provide a more nuanced understanding of the cost and impact of family law disputes.
Learn More

Legal Practice
Bill C-75: 'It's Frightening': Ottawa Legal Help Centre to Close 
The Ottawa Sun, Joanne Laucius, Nov. 8, 2018

"The Ottawa legal help centre and two others in Toronto have learned that they will close in Dec. 14, sparking an outcry from the legal community."

Without funding for Law Help Centres, not all Ontarians will have access to justice
Globe and Mail Jennifer Leitch, Nov. 21 2018

“The Pro Bono Ontario initiative offers a big bang for very few bucks...”


Brampton judge denounces Ontario government over lack of courtrooms
Globe and Mail, Sean Fine, Nov. 19, 2018

A Toronto-area judge has taken the extraordinary step of denouncing the Ontario government over court delays, saying the province has failed to provide enough courtrooms to maintain public confidence in the justice system.


Want to help Pro Bono Ontario? Lower your fees
Canadian Lawyer, Michael Spratt, Nov. 19, 2018

The solution to access to justice issues cannot just include Pro Bono Ontario. Civil lawyers need to take a hard look in the mirror and come to grips with the role they have played in creating the access-to-justice problem.


Legal Tax is the elephant in the legal aid debate <legal aid>
Vancouver Sun, Ian Mulgrew, Nov. 9, 2018

“The province now spends on legal aid less than half the money milked from the profession as more and more individuals and families fall through gaping holes in the social safety net.”


Eby's quick and dirty review of legal aid blowing up in his face
Vancouver Sun, Ian Mulgrew, Nov. 18, 2018

Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada wants Eby to extend the looming deadline and the limited scope of a review he ordered into models for legal aid.

Canadian Bar Association urging action on ‘acute’  issues with legal aid, auto insurance
CBA, BC Branch, Oct. 17, 2018

"The CBABC is asking the B.C. government to increase funding for legal aid and to make changes to the recently transformed auto insurance system in the province as part of a number of recommendations it says will help to serve modern needs and lead to the efficient resolution of legal conflicts in B.C."

Access to Justice: Highs and lows of Pro Bono Week
The Lawyer's Daily, Thomas Cromwell, Nov. 5, 2018

“Pro bono work by lawyers is part of our professional responsibility and its importance to the welfare of our community cannot be overstated.”

Mother of murdered B.C. teen gets interpreter for court proceedings but group questions why she had to ask
The Globe & Mail, Camille Baines, Oct. 31, 2018

“We have a long way to go to recognize that all victims don’t have language proficiency in our two official languages and providing language access is a human rights issue for Canadians.”
Access to justice session highlights language barriers Indigenous speakers face in court
The Lawyer's Daily, Amanda Jerome, Nov. 5, 2018

"Going through the justice system can be a challenging experience for most people, but even more so for those who have English as a second language."
How can we reform legal education? Try spotlighting the outcomes.
American Bar Association, Mary Juetten, Nov. 9 2018 

A collection of responses to Mary Juetten's June piece for the ABA, titled "The 'think like a lawyer' approach to law school is outdated" Juetten broadened the problem statement, and reflects on the feedback she received from her post earlier this year. 
BC Paralegal Association supports LSBC creation of 'licensed paralegals' 
Canadian Lawyer Magazine, Jean Sorenson, Nov. 22, 2018 

The BCPA has carried out survey membership asking whether favouring licensing through the LSBC and a high percentage of membership have indicated they want LSBC licensing.
Provincial government tables legislation enabling the Law Society to regulate licensed paralegals
The Law Society of British Columbia, Nov. 19, 2018

The provincial government recently tabled Bill 57, the Attorney General Statutes Amendments Act, 2018. The bill, which includes "legislative amendments that permit but do not require the Benchers to license paralegals," would give the Law Society the authority to create a new, regulated category for legal service provider.

Proposal to Reduce trauma for child witnesses in ACT Courts
The Canberra Times Kimberley Le Lievre, Oct. 14, 2018

Courts in Australia are creating specialist intermediaries to aid with child victim witness statements. "We've had some amazing results. We've had children as young as three give really clear evidence," District Court Justice Kate Traill said.
How Legal Hackers Are Changing the Legal Industry
Forbes, Valentin Pivovarov, Nov. 7, 2018

"Could you ever imagine that hackers … could make justice accessible for six billion people all over the world?...Legal Hackers chapters have spread to all continents and exist in 110 cities in the world.”

Alternative business structures pushed for B.C. law firms 
BIV, Hayley Woodin, Nov. 7, 2017

Firms like Slater, QualitySolicitors in the U.K. and others argued that liberalizing the traditional law firm model by including non-lawyer capital and perspectives would result in quality legal services at lower cost. Subsequent controversies have raised concerns about whether Australia’s decision to deregulate law firms and allow public ownership in them is a decision worth modelling.


Ontario Law Foundation A2J Fund and Cy-près awards

The Law Foundation of Ontario’s Access to Justice Fund is a unique and permanent fund that provides grants to non-profit organizations across Canada.


Research & Reports

Access to Justice through Limited Legal Assistance
Northwestern Journal of Human Rights 2018 16(1)
Deborah L. Rhode, Kevin Eaton, Anna Porto

This article describes an empirical survey of a limited legal assistance program designed to assist low-income individuals with family law matters. 


'Justice is just as important as health or education' - UK Surveys
Access to Justice Research Network, October 29, 2018

A new survey in England and Wales reveals that the public agrees that ‘justice is just as important as health or education’

An update on the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT):
The CRT will start resolving some BC motor vehicle accident personal injury disputes in April 2019. This will include determinations of whether an injury is a “minor injury”, disputes about accident benefits, and disputes about damages and liability up to $50,000. 

The CRT  issues a monthly Statistics Snapshot
The CRT received 420 new disputes last month (2,860 fiscal year-to-date) See the September 2018 report for more details. 

Take a look at the numbers
The CRT anonymously surveys people who have gone through the tribunal process for levels of participant satisfaction. The feedback is positive.

Class Actions in Canada: The Promise and Reality of Access to Justice
by Jasminka Kalajdzic 

Whatever deficits remain in the Canadian project to make justice available to all, class actions have been heralded as a success story. Class Actions in Canada critically and empirically examines whether collective litigation is meeting this primary goal. (source: UBC Press)
More Information


Have some A2J content to share?

We are always on the lookout for material that reflects on developments of A2J in Canada. If you have content that you believe warrants broader distribution, please share it with us. 
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