Focus On

Access to Justice


Monday, November 23, 2020 @ 2:16 PM

Saskatchewan court suspends jury trials for rest of 2020 Martel_Popescul_sm

In the face of rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, the province’s Court of Queen’s Bench is shelving all jury trials for the remainder of this year. As of Nov. 20, the court postponed all jury trials scheduled to start between then and Dec. 31, according to a notice from the court. ... [read more]

Monday, November 23, 2020 @ 1:32 PM

Access to Justice: Will COVID-19 justice become the norm? | Beverley McLachlin

I am an optimist. In previous columns I have expressed the hope that COVID-19 will reveal the inefficiencies and gaps in how we deliver justice to Canadians and allow us to build a better justice system that combines the strengths of the current system with new thinking on how to run our justice institutions more efficiently and humanely. ... [read more]

Friday, November 20, 2020 @ 12:57 PM

Politicization of senior appointments alarms Tribunal Watch Ontario | Gary Yee and Raj Anand

Tribunal Watch Ontario is alarmed by the recent series of Ontario cabinet appointments to senior leadership positions at Tribunals Ontario, the newly created cluster of 14 justice tribunals. Conservative party connections appear stronger than qualifications in some cases. Tribunal Watch Ontario (a public interest organization with a mission to promote tribunal independence and access to justice) calls for an independent review of the appointments and reappointments processes for Ontario tribunals. ... [read more]

Thursday, November 19, 2020 @ 3:11 PM

Association’s response to family legal services provider proposal: Overview | Sarah Boulby

The Toronto Law Association (TLA) is the voice of its 3,700 members who practise law in all disciplines across Toronto. Some 11 per cent of our members practise family law. The great majority of family lawyers are sole practitioners or practise in small firms. Family lawyers represent individuals from all walks in life, often at a moment of great vulnerability financially, emotionally and with respect to their physical safety. ... [read more]

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 @ 1:33 PM

Victory for Ontario animal access to justice | Victoria Shroff

We had great access to justice news in B.C. in October 2020 with the launch of the groundbreaking new student run animal law pro bono clinic (ALPC) in Vancouver. (Please see: New student-run pro bono animal law clinic victory for access to justice.) ... [read more]

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 @ 8:41 AM

No to unlimited settlement conferences | Gary Joseph

Access to justice and the continuing need to lower the cost of family law proceedings has found an ally, Superior Court of Ontario Justice David Jarvis. In what I consider a “home run” delivered in a compact three-page decision in Ni v. Yan 2020 ONSC 5941, Justice Jarvis has determined that the practice of repeated settlement conferences in “circumstances where there are continuing complaints about inadequate or refused disclosure impacting a party’s ability to make an informed settlement decision” must end. Citing Justice Frances Kiteley’s well known warning in Greco-Wang v. Wang 2014 ONSC 5366 (made in the context of a trial scheduling conference) that “[m]embers of the public who are users of civil courts are not entitled to unlimited access to trial judges,” Justice Jarvis found such comments to be “… equally, if not more, pertinent to settlement conference events.” ... [read more]

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 @ 11:46 AM

Law applies to everyone, even self-represented litigants Just A Judge

Joanna Blomer suffered a work-related injury in 2009 and later a reoccurrence of that injury. The Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board found Blomer fit to return to work as of Jan. 6, 2011, and she was therefore no longer entitled to temporary disability benefits. Blomer was unhappy with this decision and disputed it up to the Appeals Commission. This case centres around two Appeals Commissions decisions (Blomer v. Workers Compensation Board [2020] A.J. No. 977): ... [read more]

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 @ 7:34 AM

Bill would pave way for Quebec law students to provide legal advice and consultations Gilles de Saint-Exupéry

The heads of Quebec’s law schools welcomed a new bill that would allow law students working at university legal clinics to give legal advice and consultations under the supervision of lawyers and notaries, a development that would finally put them within reach of what law students in the rest of the country can provide. ... [read more]

Monday, November 16, 2020 @ 10:33 AM

Young Bar of Montreal holding legal helpline on Nov. 28-29

The 35th edition of the Young Bar of Montreal’s (YBM) Legal Helpline will be held Nov. 28-29. During this weekend, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., volunteer lawyers will be taking phone calls in order to provide free legal advice to Quebecers as well as provide information on the various dispute prevention and resolution processes available to them. ... [read more]

Thursday, November 12, 2020 @ 4:10 PM

Judges lack awareness of increased risks of domestic violence amid pandemic: study Jennifer Koshan

Canadian judges have demonstrated very little awareness over the heightened risks of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation that should prompt judges to attend comprehensive legal training over what the United Nations has described as the “shadow pandemic,” according to human rights and legal aid experts. ... [read more]