Get ready for Access to Justice Week 2019!

Access to Justice Week is next week, October 28 to November 1, 2019, and you can feel the access to justice momentum with this week’s Proclamation in the BC legislature.

BC held an Access to Justice Week last year, but this is the first year that the legislature is making a proclamation declaring Access to Justice Week. The proclamation confirms the province’s desire to support efforts around access to justice. It also highlights the broad array of people involved in the movement: judges, lawyers, notaries, paralegals, mediators, community legal advocates, public policy makers, non-profit staff and members of the public.

Access to Justice Week starts off with a Twitter Town Hall from noon until 2:00 p.m. on Monday, October 28; I very much look forward to participating. Chief Judge Gillespie (@BCProvCourt) is hosting the town hall, which originated as an innovative initiative of former Chief Judge Crabtree. We will be joined by Jennifer Muller, a self-represented litigant who has become very active in the access to justice movement—and very valued.

Please feel free to join in with #A2JChatBC for a chance to join a live discussion with the three of us. We want to hear about:

  • the progress you’re seeing – What’s working? Where do you see change happening? What have you done that’s making a difference? What have you tried that you’ve learned from? 
  • the opportunities you see the A2J movement creating – What doors has it opened for you? How has innovation improved your practice – or your satisfaction? How are you using legal tech to improve access to justice? And how would you like to use it?
  • the challenges you face when you work to improve access to justice – What’s getting in your way? What could make it easier? How have you overcome an obstacle?

We are particularly interested in hearing about your ideas and experiences that involve collaboration and that focus on the people who use the legal system. We want to hear about your experiments—successful or not. This is what makes up something we call the “A2JBC Approach” to justice system reform. We’ll share our observations on the changes that we see happening too.

Later on in the week will be a much-anticipated address from Professor Margaret Hagan, an expert on human-centred design and what it can offer the justice system. The province’s three law schools have organized a number of events to take place over the course of the week: discussions, lectures and activities. Mid-week Access to Justice BC’s Leadership Group will meet to deliberate on how we might take cross-sector leadership in addressing the negative impact on children of parental conflict and anxiety during separation. I look forward to reporting more on that in a future blog post. Finally, there will be a Victoria Access to Justice Hackathon at the end of the week. (This year the Vancouver Hackathon took place earlier in the fall before Access to Justice Week, and was highly successful I hear.)

The three law schools have been integral in bringing about Access to Justice Week, and you can visit their joint homepage for a full listing and details about the Access to Justice Week events.

My sincere thanks to everyone who has worked to make Access to Justice Week a reality. It is truly heartening to be a part of this important collaborative effort.