Looking at the justice system from the point of view of the users of the system has the potential to be transformative.
When the system is viewed from the perspective of the user, rather than from within, it looks different. For example, families going through the transition of separation face social problems with legal aspects, not legal problems with social aspects. When those within the justice system start to look at the system from the family’s perspective, they begin to design changes that take into account such things as financial pressures, increased psychological stress and parenting obligations of family members.
People who work in other sectors, and professionals from other disciplines, have important insights and expertise that will help justice system stakeholders figure out how best to accommodate the non-legal needs of users of the justice system. Realizing this is why A2JBC advocates for a multi-disciplinary approach to justice system change.
Engaging users to design products or services has been successful in other sectors. It is new in the justice system, and so we have to learn how to do it. A2JBC initiatives provide opportunities to learn, and to demonstrate to justice system stakeholders the value of such an approach.
The commitment to work in partnership with system users underlies A2JBC’s dialogue with the BC Aboriginal Justice Council. BC’s Indigenous peoples have disproportionately suffered from the lack of access to justice, and attempts to solve this problem without them have been persistently unsuccessful. A2JBC will explore with the BC Aboriginal Justice Council how a user-centred approach to innovation can lead to effective partnership with Indigenous peoples and communities in improving access to justice.