access to justice

Access to Justice Bulletin, April 2017

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From the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Working Group

National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil & Family Matters’ (NAC) Justice Development Goals Status Report released in March 2017 here: http://bit.ly/2o9MyOY. New NAC “Justice Development Goals” website launched in March 2017 here: http://bit.ly/2pDRn36.

People’s Law School presents the “Restorative Justice Dinner, Drama, & Discussion” on April 24 in Saskatoon & on April 25 in Prince Albert. For more information & to RSVP, email heatherpeters@mccsk.ca.

Free Law Day Telephone Clinic being hosted on April 25 & 26 by CBA Sask. & Pro Bono Law Sask. Call 1-306-569-3098 (Regina) or 1-855-833-7257 (toll free) to book a telephone appointment to obtain free legal advice from a volunteer Saskatchewan lawyer. Limited space available.

NAC is building an inventory of ways that access to justice is being improved across Canada. If your access to justice related innovations involve collaboration; governance; new delivery approaches; technology; or evaluation, please share them by May 15 here: http://bit.ly/2orbttv.

National Self-Represented Litigants Project seeks family lawyer input about ‘legal coaching’ by May 15 to help inform development of training program for lawyers interested in building a coaching practice: http://bit.ly/2oalo9K.

Free help with family law problems during April, May, & June in Saskatoon: http://bit.ly/2o961ze.

Research study seeks to connect with tenants who have been represented by CLASSIC or who represented themselves at a hearing at the Office of Residential Tenancies (Rentalsman). For more information, contact Sarah Buhler at 1-306-270-5564 or sarah.buhler@usask.ca, or drop by CLASSIC to sign up. Participants will receive $25 to thank them for their time.

Save the date for the 2nd Annual Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week, being held October 16-22, 2017.

Have you heard about the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project, an initiative of CREATE Justice? Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2oQtzGr.

Sask. could be forced to dismiss serious criminal cases due to shortage of justices, says Chief Justice Popescul: http://bit.ly/2otslPn.

PASS IT ON! SUBMIT YOUR BITE-SIZED ACCESS TO JUSTICE NEWS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE BULLETIN TO a2jworkinggroup@usask.ca AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO SUBSCRIBE FOR THE BULLETIN AT http://bit.ly/29eyYPr.

Access to Justice Bulletin, March 2017

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From the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Working Group

CREATE Justice officially launched March 1 at the College of Law. Read the first publication of the centre, the Architects of Justice Survey Report, which was aimed at increasing public participation in developing access to justice solutions: http://bit.ly/2mQ7Hx3.

Legal Resources Fair held at Regina Public Library on March 14 to increase public access to legal information: http://bit.ly/2nfhV9i.

Register for “Law Day for Canada at 150”, a free public lecture about diversity in the legal system, chaired by the Hon. Justice Jackson on March 30 in Regina: http://bit.ly/2mNBd2i.

Law Society Library seeks feedback about legal resources & access to justice by April 7 from Saskatchewan lawyers practicing in smaller communities: http://bit.ly/2o8g46Z.

Intakes for CLASSIC’s Walk-in Advocacy Clinic (WAC) suspended from March 29-May 15 to accommodate student change-over. CLASSIC’s Legal Advice Clinic (LAC) appointments also limited between March 29-May 15 because of limited student availability & student change-over.

National Self-Represented Litigants Project seeks family lawyer input about ‘legal coaching’ by May 15 to help inform development of training program for lawyers interested in building a coaching practice: http://bit.ly/2oalo9K.

New Law Society of Saskatchewan Executive Director, Tim Brown highlights topic of access to justice in “Leading with Vision” feature of Spring 2017 Bencher’s Digest: http://bit.ly/2mJ4rhU.

Save the date for the 2nd Annual Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week, being held October 16-22, 2017.

Report by the Hon. Justice Bonkalo submitted to Ontario Attorney General & Law Society of Upper Canada on “Expanding Legal Services Options for Families” for consideration in development of an action plan to be released in Fall 2017: http://bit.ly/2oAwCBg.

CREATE Justice highlighted in Slaw Column, “Beyond the Binary” as an innovative initiative that seeks to normalize broader engagement in addressing access to justice problems: http://bit.ly/2nLrxqa.

Providing Legal Resources to Lawyers in Smaller Communities – Law Society Library & Access to Justice

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

Providing publicly accessible legal resources and information increases the public’s understanding of legal matters and ability to handle these matters. In addition to the numerous public resources created and provided by the Library and research assistance, the Library is also involved in several access to justice initiatives. Please see a recent article in our Benchers’ Digest (page 6) “Putting the Public First – Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project” for more information on this initiatives.

However, it is important to recognize that the definition of access to justice is broader than just assisting self-represented litigants. Access to justice also includes ensuring members of the public have access to competent and affordable legal services. The resources and services provided by the Law Society Library enable lawyers, particularly in smaller centres, to adequately service their communities. Our Members’ Section ensures our members have access to the resources they need no matter their location. It is already difficult to attract new lawyers to smaller communities. A lack of resources could potentially make these locations even less attractive and leave communities without legal services.

If you are a lawyer practicing in a smaller community in Saskatchewan, please share your voice and review the following notice regarding funding to maintain legal resources, such as WestlawNext, and the other resources available through the Members’ Section and the Law Society Library. Once you have reviewed the notice, please complete the survey contained within. The deadline to complete the survey is April 7th. We appreciate your time and feedback.

 

 

CLASSIC – Free Legal Clinics in Saskatoon

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classicLogoBy Melanie Hodges Neufeld

Community Legal Assistance for Saskatoon Inner City (CLASSIC) provides the following legal clinics at their location at 123 20th Street West in Saskatoon:

CLASSIC’s WALK-IN ADVOCACY CLINIC is for people seeking legal information, basic legal services, including representation to come in and do an intake on a first come, first serve basis. The Walk-In Advocacy Clinic is Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM.

(Note: Walk-In Advocacy Clinic intakes are suspended from November 21 to January 9, 2017 as CLASSIC transition through another group of students.)

  • Residential Tenancies
  • Social Services
  • Employment Law
  • Immigration and Refugee
  • Estate Law
  • Guardian ship Matters

CLASSIC also administers a LEGAL ADVICE CLINIC. This is where clients have the opportunity to have a one half-hour consultation with a practicing lawyer. The Legal Advice Clinic is through appointment only on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and evenings.

  • Family Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Civil Law

Please visit the CLASSIC website for more information.

Innovative Approaches to Justice – Q&A with the Honourable Judge C.C. Toth

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By Jenneth Mainil, Law Society of Saskatchewan Library

As the 6th International Training Symposium: Innovative Approaches to Justice, held in Regina in June, ended, I listened as a dozen recovering addicts candidly spoke about their heartbreaking experiences with drugs and addiction, their horrific tales of crime, abuse, loss and desperation. It was a most humbling experience. But they also spoke about the program that finally offered them support and provided the platform for treatment and recovery. Now they are productive members in the community, counsellors, university graduates and advocates for change and awareness. They have had babies born drug-free, reconnected with their families, made peace with their past and started to make plans for their future. And they are all graduates of the Regina Drug Treatment Court (“RDTC”).

This fall will mark the tenth year of operation for the RDTC, and it’s something we should all be celebrating, quite simply because it works. The program, which plays a large role in Saskatchewan’s reply to a need for a more therapeutic approach to justice, is one of seven courts in Saskatchewan that are taking a closer look at mental illness, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (“FASD”), domestic violence and addiction issues. To learn more about the program, I sat down with the Honourable Judge C.C. Toth, who was instrumental in opening both the RDTC and the Regina Mental Health/FASD Court.

Read the rest of this article…

Highlights from Final Day of Access to Justice Week: Justice research centre established at the U of S

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By Sarah Trefiak
Communications Officer, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Dean of Law, Martin Phillipson is pleased to announce the establishment of the CREATE Justice research centre, which will operate within the law college.

The centre was announced Oct. 25 prior to a guest lecture by the Honourable Thomas Cromwell, former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

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The primary objective of CREATE Justice is to address key gaps in data and access to justice research in Canada. The centre’s research will be oriented towards two general dimensions of access to justice: transforming legal and justice services, and the removal of systemic barriers to justice.

“This centre will help make important data more readily available for informed and credible research and policy making,” said Brea Lowenberger, access to justice co-ordinator at the College of Law. “We will work to centralize information and projects; to streamline efforts and communication between researchers; and encourage research, evaluation, and action at, and beyond, the University of Saskatchewan.”

The centre was created in response to the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters 2013 report, the Canadian Bar Association’s Reaching Equal Justice Report and a recommendation by participants at the 2015 Dean’s Forum on Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice at the U of S.

Following his lecture, Cromwell was named an Honorary Fellow of CREATE Justice.

“Cromwell’s ongoing leadership with the National Action Committee on Access to Justice, his unwavering dedication to access to justice in general, and now his connection to CREATE Justice, will undoubtedly benefit access to justice not only in Saskatchewan, but nationwide,” said Phillipson.

CREATE Justice has also received more than $500,000 in funding from the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan to assist its development over the next five years.

“We are extremely grateful to the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for providing such generous support to CREATE Justice.  This support will enable the centre to begin fulfilling its mandate from the outset,” added Phillipson.

Researchers, members of the public, and justice system stakeholders interested in access to justice are encouraged to visit law.usask.ca/createjustice or email createjustice@usask.ca to find out how they can become involved with CREATE Justice research and initiatives.

 

Highlights from Day 4 of Access to Justice Week on Rural and Remote Access to Justice

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By  the student leaders of the College of Law’s “Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee”, Jessica Kelly, Allison Graham, Liam Fitz-Gerald, Brady Knight and Darcy Dumont

a2jphoto9As was mentioned in a previous Access to Justice Week post highlighting Rural and Remote Access to Justice, the “Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee” (SURC) are interested in promoting legal careers across Saskatchewan and as such each year organize a trip for a group of students to visit a community outside of Saskatoon. On Friday, October 20, twenty-three College of Law students went on a community visit to North Battleford and Battleford.

Here are some reflections students had about the trip in general, and on the topic of access to justice in small urban, rural, and remote communities.

Interviewee 1:  Ally Sparks, 2L student

  1. How did you like the trip to North Battleford?

“I really enjoyed it. I was actually really impressed. When I went I didn’t think I’d work or want to work in North Battleford, I was thinking of applying in Prince Albert and Moose Jaw and I thought going on the rural trip would give me insight into other rural centres and after leaving I thought it seemed cool.”

  1. What do you think of these areas being underserviced and these smaller areas in regard to access to justice?

“I think it is a problem. I don’t know the numbers. You have a hard time enticing professionals, things like lawyers, doctors, psychologists, teachers, to go to rural communities and I think part of that is to get that education, you have to go to a bigger center and then there’s such a culture of needing to stay in the big center to be successful. That leads to this feeling of “if I go to a small centre, that means I’m not successful as a lawyer” and I think that’s untrue.”

“I think quality of life and contentment with career is one thing but for a lot of people it’s making a difference or advancing in their career or being successful in their career is a separate goal that they have that they think they can’t achieve in a small center but I think they can, especially if your goal is the feeling of a good lawyer. I think you’ll get that experience more quickly in a smaller center then in a larger center.”

 

Interviewee 2:  Owen Stewart, 1L student

  1. How did you like the trip to North Battleford?

“I had a fantastic time. I’m not from the province and it was a good opportunity to get out of the campus residence bubble and to see a smaller town, and anything outside Saskatoon and to actually see the prairies for the first time in my life. I didn’t get an opportunity before this to get to go to a smaller firm so I’m thankful for that experience because it shows the other side of the coin for potential work experience going forward. Also the different work the smaller firms deal with and the different issues these smaller communities have that these smaller firms try to address and the closer relationship you have with the smaller community.”

  1. What do you think of these areas being underserviced and these smaller areas in regard to access to justice?

“It clearly is an issue. To spin it one way, it’s an opportunity for a young future lawyer like myself. You talk to all these people in law school stressed about finding work and it was fantastic to hear that there is work available if you’re looking to come here. In terms of other access to justice issues, when you go to a smaller town and if it’s where I’m from and you no longer have a resource economy and you have people unemployed and not on the right side of the law they need representation.”