Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship


The Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ) is pleased to announce that Prof. Heather Heavin, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies and Prof. Michaela Keet, Associate Professor, both of the University of Saskatchewan College of Law, are the co-recipients of the 2016 Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship. They will present results of their research project entitled “Risk Analysis: A Methodological Approach to Early Case Assessment in Litigation and Settlement” at the CIAJ Annual Conference on “Civil Justice and Economics: A Matter of Value,” to be held October 5-7, 2016, in Ottawa. Press release (PDF)

Heather-Heavin Bourse CDG-2016

Prof. Heather Heavin
Associate Dean,
Research and Graduate Studies
University of Saskatchewan
College of Law

Michaela-Keet Bourse CDG-2016

Prof. Michaela Keet
Associate Professor,
University of Saskatchewan
College of Law

About the Fellowship

Created in 2009 and named in honour of the late Mr. Justice Charles D. Gonthier of the Supreme Court of Canada, a former President of the Institute, The Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship of $7,500 is awarded annually to an academic selected by the jury who will best research the topic of CIAJ’s annual conference. Each conference focuses on a specific aspect of the Institute’s themes: Justice as a humanistic and social value; Justice as a public service; Justice in a global economy and interdependent world.

2016 Annual Conference main theme: Civil Justice and Economics: A Matter of Value

What is the value of justice? Does justice have a price tag? The question is intriguing. But justice certainly has a cost. It is part of the world where material resources and time are limited. Can we put dollar figures on Justice? Certainly. Should we? Therein lies the dilemma. Since justice is financed from public funds, some would argue that governments should be able to measure its quality, performance and accessibility. Governments are required to report on court house costs, delays and other expenses; and to those numbers must be added expenses incurred by litigants and the costs associated with the lack of justice i.e., self-representation or refusal to enforce rights recognized by our laws. The economics of law and justice is the theme of CIAJ’s 2016 Annual Conference.

The absence of reliable data on judicial activity poses many problems. The development of reforms based on inaccurate data and the absence of a documented monitoring of the implemented reforms within the justice system attest that the legal culture is not transparent. What information does justice need about its own activity? What do we know about its activity? How can we improve the practice of law, and the processes of the law, and, thereby, improve access to justice? How can we better understand and measure the activities of our legal institutions?

In the absence of data, what steps is the system taking to improve and to provide the means to fulfill the fundamentals of civil justice. What insights can an economic focus lend to an analysis of how to improve civil justice?

2016 Topics include:

  • Building the Bridge Between Law and Economics and Improving the Delivery of Civil Justice
  • The Value of Justice
  • The Cost of Justice
  • Ways of Making Existing Systems Work Better
  • What Can The Courts Learn From Dispute Resolution Mechanisms Developing Outside the Court Structure?
  • What Can Technology Do to Better Use Civil Justice Dollars?
  • Do We Need to Reconfigure the Court System?
  • Are We Offering a Cadillac When All We Need is a Volkswagen?

Applicants are invited to research one of these specific themes, or any other theme related to ‘Civil Justice and Economics’.

Administration of Funds

The funds are administered by CIAJ on behalf of the successful applicant and are available to support research assistance or other out-of-pocket expenses, but may not be used as an honorarium. It is expected that the completed research will be presented to the Institute’s annual meeting in October 2016 in Ottawa (ON).

The maximum amount of the Fellowship is $7,500. The selection of the project for the research fellowship will be made by a committee composed of the President of the CIAJ (or his/her nominee), the CIAJ Academic Advisor, one of the Co-Chairs of the Education and Research Planning Committee, and one other person selected by the Executive Committee.

To Apply (Application deadline is passed – For consultation only)

  • The fellowship competition is open to faculty and graduate students at Canadian universities.
  • In addition to submission of a completed research report, the Institute expects to receive a complete account of expenditures.

The recipient of the Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship is encouraged to seek publication of the paper in a reputable scholarly publication and to indicate, in an introductory note, that financial support for the research was provided by the CIAJ.

CHARLES D. GONTHIER Research Fellowship – Application Form
CHARLES D. GONTHIER Research Fellowship – Printable details

Research papers