Published In

Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2013

Subjects

Access to justice; technology; law; cyberjustice; social justice

Abstract

The Canadian dialogue regarding access to justice has taken an important turn in the last few years, more robustly conceptualizing what is to be accessed (“deliverables”) and who is intended to benefit (“beneficiaries”), as well as recognizing that access to justice initiatives that benefit some citizens or groups of citizens cannot be presumed to benefit all citizens. Recent initiatives shift focus away from particular kinds of deliverables (e.g. access to lawyers and courts) and/or particular groups of beneficiaries (e.g. the middle class) toward a more “expansive vision” of access to justice. The expansive vision not only integrates and prioritizes a variety of deliverables, but also explicitly recognizes that socioeconomic and other structural differences among citizens affect their respective abilities to benefit both from the justice system itself and from initiatives designed to improve access to justice. These developments hold important promise not just for responding to what has been called an access to justice “crisis” in Canada, but also for tailoring responses in ways that are mindful of the differing needs and situations of all citizens. In this paper, and in keeping with this expansive vision, we argue that this more robust approach to access to justice must also be brought to bear on the specific dialogue around access to justice and technology.

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