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Chief Justice’s Blog

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Face the strange*

One of A2JBC’s messages has been that improving access to the justice system will require taking some risks. A2JBC has also said that effective change will require collaboration and experimentation. We will need to explore ideas that may seem threatening or even, to some, antithetical to justice. Putting the user at the centre of the […]

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Understanding the value of alternative dispute resolution

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice recently released a report evaluating different dispute resolution methods in family law matters. The report was based on a survey that asked family lawyers for their views on the usefulness of collaborative settlement processes, mediation, arbitration and litigation to resolve family law disputes. The results indicated that family lawyers […]

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Self-help success stories

Visitors to our website will know that many individuals in BC have difficulty affording a lawyer and end up representing themselves in Court when they have a legal dispute. A2JBC supports various innovations that seek to reduce the barriers that prevent individuals from accessing counsel, but some ideas, like the unbundling initiative, are also aimed […]

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Access to justice for children and youth

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with lawyers from the Child and Youth Legal Centre, launched earlier this fall. Donna Maser, managing lawyer, and Suzette Narbonne, child and youth lawyer, described the Centre’s mandate: to advance the legal rights of children and youth in order to improve their well-being in British Columbia. Children […]

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Innovation in action

Canadian Lawyer magazine recently published two stories about the Aspire Legal Access Initiative (“Aspire”), an initiative which I think represents the type of innovation A2JBC encourages. Aspire seeks to empower self-represented clients dealing with family law matters to navigate the system themselves with the support of affordable, limited scope services. Aspire’s model relies primarily on […]

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Engaging the legal profession: the BC Paralegal Association

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the BC Paralegal Association Annual Fall Dinner on the access to justice challenges we face in our province. I was impressed to learn about the significant growth in membership of the BCPA, and to see so many paralegals coming together to celebrate their success and demonstrate their […]

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Launch of A2JBC’s new website

I am pleased to announce the launch of Access to Justice BC’s new website. The previous website was acting as a placeholder until we were better equipped to put together a site that would be more user-friendly, informative and interactive. Thanks to the contributions of many organizations and individuals, Access to Justice BC has been […]

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The Law Society’s role regarding public access to legal services

A recurring access to justice discussion has concerned the role of law societies in meeting the legal needs of the public. The Winter 2016 CBA National Magazine contains an article (“Should lawyers have a monopoly over the provision of legal services?”) arguing that lawyers are not meeting the public’s need for legal services, and that […]

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Invitation to lawyers to try something new (or not so new)

In a previous post, I mentioned some of the initiatives that Access to Justice BC has identified as areas for collaborative action. In this post, I will talk in a bit more detail about one of them. Collaborative efforts stemming from our February 11, 2016 Access to Justice BC Leadership Group meeting resulted in Access […]

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Why family law?

At the initial meeting of the members of the leadership group for Access to Justice BC, one of the first questions posed was, “What part of the justice system in British Columbia should be the first target?” It had already been determined that the criminal justice system was out of scope, and that the focus […]

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