The B.C. government has proclaimed Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, 2019, Access to Justice Week, an annual event that engages the public and legal community to showcase ways to make it easier for British Columbians to resolve their disputes and deal with legal matters.
Access to Justice Week is led by three law schools – Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University’s Faculty of Law and the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law.
“For too long, British Columbians faced barriers when seeking justice,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “I’m proud of the results our government is making towards improving access. Just this week, we published a new digital transformation strategy aimed at using technology inside and outside the courtroom to improve services and accessibility. We’ll continue to work on ways to make life better for British Columbians when it comes to the justice system.”
Highlights of what government has accomplished so far to improve access to justice:
- appointed B.C.’s first independent human rights commissioner to ensure the protection of human rights;
- increased funding for legal aid by $26 million, helping British Columbians access essential affordable or free legal advice and reduce court backlogs;
- established a 2.5-year agreement with the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers to provide access to legal aid lawyers across the entire province;
- opened new courthouse services that assist people in resolving family disputes and civil lawsuits more efficiently, and resolve disputes outside of court, while providing increased funding for registry staff, sheriffs and other essential court services;
- BC Prosecution Service developed an Indigenous Justice Framework to strive for change to the status quo by moving towards reconciliation, building trust and promoting better relationships with Indigenous communities;
- established the BC Family Maintenance Agency inside government to offer stability in services that ensure outstanding family support payments are made to vulnerable British Columbians;
- expanded the Civil Resolution Tribunal to save time, money and stress in resolving motor vehicle injury disputes and encourage early resolution;
- launched a Digital Transformation Strategy to support better services and accessibility for citizens, and innovation and technology for the judiciary; and
- expanded the online divorce assistant to provide a service for joint divorce for couples with children.
Access to Justice Week is sponsored by Access to Justice BC, Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch, Continuing Legal Education Society, Courthouse Libraries, the Law Foundation, the Law Society and the Ministry of Attorney General.