Regulatory Responses to Promote Greater Access to Justice (1:33:26)

3:30 – 5 pm  Regulatory Responses to Promote Greater Access to Justice

We need to reorient our justice system towards public-focussed design with the leverage of technology to tear down time, cost, and other access barriers. The court-wide mega-project technology overhaul of courts is dead. So what is the alternative? This session will offer ideas for incremental change that risks failure and demonstrates successes; that engages stakeholders and promotes an environment in which transformation is welcomed. This session will also present the Civil Resolution Tribunal in British Columbia, as well as the Cyberjustice Laboratory of the Faculty of Law at the Université de Montréal, two initiatives based on the use of technology for better access to justice. The increasing cost of accessing justice is being addressed by Law Societies, governments, and individual lawyers. The pressure for continuing innovation in the provision of legal services, as well as the need for greater dialogue between the regulators, governments and the judiciary, is prompting a critical look at issues long-thought to be sacrosanct. For example, with the increasing competition in the legal profession, should regulators look into broadening the scope of who can practice law, including other professionals such as paralegals and limited licence legal technicians? What are the limits to what regulators can accomplish to promote greater access to justice? Should methods of delivering legal services be expanded to facilitate better the “unbundling” of legal services or “limited scope retainers,” sometimes referred to as “targeted legal services”? Can the rules regarding who has a “right of audience” continue in their present form? Is it time to rethink the business model of hourly billing? Are governments doing enough to fund essential litigation? Is the judiciary using its cost awarding powers appropriately?


  • Mr. John Sims, past Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Ottawa


  • Mr. Mark Benton, Chief Executive Officer, Legal Services Society of British Columbia
  • Mr. Fred Headon, Assistant General Counsel, Labour and Employment Law, Air Canada; Past President of the Canadian Bar Association; Chair of the CBA Legal Futures Initiative
  • Ms. Janet Whitehead, George Murray Shipley Bell, LLP, Sarnia
  • Mr. Paul Schabas, Treasurer, Law Society of Upper Canada