Access to Justice can mean many things. It can mean getting the information necessary to know one’s legal rights and responsibilities. It can mean having meaningful access to the courts or another dispute resolution system when faced with a conflict. It can mean being able to retain a lawyer to represent one’s interests. It can mean having a say in the content of the laws that govern us. It can mean all this and more.
Many Canadians suffer due to a lack of access to justice. They face obstacles including a lack of fluency in English, physical distance from justice services, economic barriers, and distrust of legal institutions.
An important conversation is underway about what access to justice means and how to provide it to all Canadians. Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia each have a week in October dedicated to Access to Justice. The national Pro Bono Conference, taking place this week in Vancouver, is held every two years in October. Alberta is joining the conversation, too.
Planning is underway for Alberta’s first, full-fledged Access to Justice week from September 29-October 5, 2019. We hope to partner with justice sector organizations and other interested individuals to hold events during the week that raise awareness about access to justice. Events could include:
o Report launches,
o Keynote lectures,
o Conferences or mini-conferences,
o Continuing Professional Development offerings, and
We would love for you to get involved! If you would like to volunteer or have an idea for an event or other initiative, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, we would like to take this week to highlight some of the great initiatives already underway in Alberta. Every day this week we will be posting information about different justice sector organizations in Alberta and the important work they are doing to make access to justice a reality in this province.