Community justice help
Our access to justice predictions for 2020 (and beyond)
At the dawn of this new decade, we thought we’d look back at some developments in access to justice from the end of the last. And, looking into our crystal ball, we’ll try our hand at some predictions – or perhaps wishful thinking or gentle prods – for the decade to come.
Here are our top 3 “predictions” for 2020 – and beyond.
- We predict that the next decade will see an embrace of a wider range of “community justice helpers” who, in partnership with lawyers and paralegals, will work to reach people “where they are”. Some recent trends of note:
- increased numbers of community workers in Ontario being trained to help people with their legal problems in their clients’ lives and provide responsive help
- the growth of justice and health partnerships in Ontario, bringing legal professionals together with health professionals in a variety of ways to get timely legal information to patients
- bringing legal information and virtual legal help directly to rural communities in Ontario using a roving van and social media broadcasts
- embedding lay navigators in Nova Scotia courts to help guide litigants through the court process
- We predict that Canadian governments will begin to realize that investing in legal aid would save a lot more money than it would cost, and make them look good – and do good! -- by helping society’s most vulnerable. In 2019, evidence of this across 50 countries was gathered and shared through Canadian and international research.
- We predict that technology – grabbed on to with some speed over the last decade – will now be subjected to more critical thinking from the outset (user-centred design as well as at the other end (assessment and evaluation). We at CLEO have embarked on a few research projects that we hope will improve our abilities in this regard.
And, in closing, one of our resolutions is to continue to share new developments with you on community and research work intended to promote and boost access to justice. Are you working on any interesting initiatives or research? Let us know.