TORONTO, Oct. 11, 2013 – The Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada applauds a new report by the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters.
“Access to justice is at a critical stage in Canada,” said Bob Ward, Chair of the Association of Legal Aid Plans. “The Action Committee’s report provides a much-needed path for reform of the Canadian justice system” by highlighting the need for increased civil and family legal aid.
The report, entitled Access to Civil and Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change, notes that the poor and vulnerable are particularly prone to legal problems, which can multiply and lead to other legal, social and health-related problems. Left unresolved, these problems have social and economic costs.
“Despite serious challenges to the justice system, this report gives us reasons to be optimistic that something can be accomplished through a coordinated and collaborative voice for change,” said Ward.
The report provides a multi-sector national approach that promotes concrete goals in the areas of innovation, institutions and structures, and research and funding. Goals include a justice system focused on the everyday legal problems Canadians face and making essential legal services available to everyone. The report also calls for user-friendly court processes, a “front-end” early resolution services sector, and appropriate services for self-represented litigants.
While recognizing that there are specific local conditions for which there must be locally tailored approaches, the Action Committee would like to see the creation of a permanent national body that would guide meaningful local and national initiatives.
The Action Committee is composed of leaders in the civil and family justice community, and a public representative for each of the different parts of the justice system.
The Association of Legal Aid Plans is a voice for Canada’s Legal Aid Plans and its members provide expertise on legal aid and access to justice issues. The association conducts, supports and facilitates research concerning access to justice issues. It also seeks to improve public awareness of access to justice issues.
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