The Canadian Judicial Council Releases Report on Reforms to Improve Canadians' Access to Justice



    
    "...Access to justice is the essential foundation for our legal system to
    function and to maintain the confidence of the public it serves."

            - Rt. Hon Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada
    

    OTTAWA, June 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Judicial Council has released
a report on reforms undertaken across Canada to make it easier and more
affordable for Canadians to seek justice in the courts. The Chief Justice of
Canada, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, who also heads the Council,
has identified access to justice as one of the most important challenges
facing the justice system today.
    The report, which focuses on the civil and family justice systems,
identifies five areas in which significant reforms aimed at addressing the
cost of litigation have been undertaken in recent years in various Canadian
jurisdictions:

    
    - Proportionality: Targeting proportionality between on the one hand the
      scale of court proceedings and on the other hand the value of the
      claim, public importance of the issues and complexity of the case;
    - Experts: Streamlining the use of experts and limiting their number;
    - Point of Entry: Assisting litigants without counsel to obtain
      information and referrals quickly and effectively on first contact with
      the judicial system;
    - Discovery: Containing the scope of discovery procedures; and
    - Caseflow management: Expediting the flow of cases through the courts.
    

    This report, which was undertaken by a sub-committee of the Council's
Administration of Justice Committee, is based on records developed at its
request for the new Inventory of Reforms created by the Canadian Forum on
Civil Justice (http://cfcj-fcjc.org/inventory). The report identifies
60 reforms in the five noted areas covered, ranging from pilot projects to
changes that have already become permanent.
    The sub-committee concluded that while the research had identified many
promising practices, there is insufficient evidence to recommend adoption of
specific reforms. The report recommends that stronger methodologies of
evaluation be developed for judicial changes to ensure that there are
measurable objectives and goals before judicial changes are undertaken. This
would allow for a more systematic assessments and comparative analyses of the
costs and benefits, as well as create a stronger foundation for deciding
whether particular changes are applicable to other jurisdictions.
    The sub-committee also recommends that greater efforts be made to expand
pilot projects when they are successful, bearing in mind the diversity of
needs both within and among different jurisdictions.
    This report - identifying obstacles as well as promising reforms - is
available on the Council's website and is part of the Council's continuing
efforts, along with other participants in the legal system, to improve the
access Canadians have to their justice system -- identifying obstacles as well
as promising reforms. The goal is to ensure that Canadians can be confident
that they will receive justice from the courts in a timely, efficient, and
cost-effective way.

    The Canadian Judicial Council is composed of the chief justices and
associate chief justices of Canada's superior courts. Information about the
Council, including other publications, can be found on the <a href="http://www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca/cmslib/general/2008_SelectedReformInitiatives_Report_final_EN.pdf">Council's website</a>
at www.cjc.gc.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Norman Sabourin, Executive Director and Senior
General Counsel, (613) 288-1566 ext. 301

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Canadian Judicial Council

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