Policy direction and priorities of the Advisory committee on access to justice for 2018-2019
Each year, the Advisory committee on access to justice sets a policy direction and priorities to guide the choice of projects financed under the Financial assistance program to promote access to justice.
The committee wants to make citizens the main focus for the projects financed under the program.
For this purpose, the annual policy direction has been set as follows:
Promote better access to justice through the development of coordinated, structural projects to provide services to the general public that take new technologies and new approaches into account in order to facilitate use of the justice system, at all levels and for all citizens, in particular those facing specific access to justice issues.
In concrete terms, the committee supports the implementation of projects that provide legal information to the general public in plain language, using new technologies.
Bodies applying for financial assistance must consider one or more of these priorities in the implementation of their projects.
1 - Dispute prevention and resolution
Dispute prevention and resolution processes can help people find a solution to a dispute or legal problem without going to court.
2 - Groups facing specific issues in connection with access to justice
Some groups experience specific problems in connection with access to justice.
For example, the committee recommends the implementation of projects to help the following groups:
- Parties without representation
These people choose not to be represented by a lawyer before the court. However, the complexity of the process may cause them a great deal of stress and extend the duration of their case, possibly placing them at a disadvantage compared to parties represented by lawyers.
- People with low incomes experiencing social exclusion
These people experience a range of legal problems that tend to multiply over time. The problems are often linked to their everyday life and have a major impact on their lives, and include family, housing and neighbourhood issues. The people concerned may hesitate to seek help to solve their problem, among other things because of the costs involved.
- Recent immigrants and people from cultural communities
These people may have difficulty asserting their rights because of language or cultural barriers, their immigration status, a lack of understanding of their rights and obligations, and the discrimination they may face.
Seniors' low income and greater dependency on the people around them may affect their ability to overcome obstacles when they have to deal with the justice system.
- Members of Aboriginal and Inuit communities
These people fact issues connected with the understanding of legal information, which is not always available in their language and contains a large number of specialized legal terms.
- People with mental health issues
These people are the most like to be victimized, and to face problems of drug addiction and abuse, and vagrancy. They are also more likely to be brought before the courts because of their mental state.
3 – Offer citizens innovative services that promote access to justice
The committee hopes to see good practices and innovation develop in the community sector in the wake of pilot projects and research initiatives.