The Reality Disconnect: How Hierarchical Decision-Making is Holding Back Progress on Access to Justice in Canada

The Reality Disconnect: How Hierarchical Decision-Making is Holding Back Progress on Access to Justice in Canada

In the 18 months since the Dialogue Event – a justice system stakeholder forum held at the Faculty of Law University of Windsor, bringing together members of the public (SRLs) and judges, lawyers and policymakers – I have spent a great deal of time talking with, exchanging ideas among, and generally tracking developments in a revitalized “Access to Justice Sector” emerging across Canada.

The A2J Sector: Who are We?

Members of what I am dubbing the A2J Sector include judges, regulators and leaders of the profession (for example in provincial Law Foundations and Law Societies), government lawyers and others working in policy, court services and public legal services, and legal academics. Some of these individuals are very senior and respected members of the legal community, which has lent an important gravitas to the debate.

Nonetheless, in order to identify and implement reforms that will make a real difference to the experience of ordinary Canadians, this stakeholder group is in urgent need of expansion. Over the past 12 months, the A2J Sector has begun – slowly and tentatively – to reach out to include social agencies – often staffed by “non-lawyers”, but working on the frontlines of the A2J crisis–that offer support and resources to women, to men, to children, to the mentally ill, to new immigrants, etc.

Even more slowly, the A2J Sector is considering including members of the public, and perhaps those who have had experiences as SRLs, in their deliberations and think tanks. There is a lot of talk about including the voices of consumers – so far, a great deal more talk than action.

And even where stakeholders other than A2J Sector bigwigs are included in the discussion, the sense is that their views are “interesting” but not really important and that the “real” decisions will be made by the justice system elites.

Local Heroes

Despite my deep personal disappointment with progress towards a more inclusive stakeholder group for the A2J Sector, there are many heroes who are acting locally. These local heroes probably do not have time to attend a A2J Sector think tank – and they probably weren’t invited anyway.

Local heroes across Canada have challenged themselves to try out new programming, develop new resources, have moved around scarce resources in order to better serve those who cannot afford legal counsel, and many spend hours and hours each day working with the unrepresented. Occasionally they are also members of the A2J Sector elite – those who marry words with action. Some of these heroes have been recognized in our Access to Justice All-Stars awards at NSRLP, and shall continue to do so (there are plenty more unsung heroes out there, please keep the nominations coming).

3 Assumptions at the Heart of the A2J Sector

Despite the encouragement I take from these local heroes, I believe that those seeking real change face 3 assumptions that are a serious impediment to making genuine improvements in access to justice in Canada.

I encounter one or more of the 3 assumptions on an almost daily basis. While they are manifest in different ways – whether by lawyers, judges, policy folks, academics – there is a depressing consistency and predictability about them. Many days I know exactly what I am about to hear before I hear it. Now that is depressing.

I think that the problem is that these 3 assumptions are embedded in the MO of the “A2J Sector” I have described above, They are regarded by some as an effective explanation for failing to consult, engage or interact with members of the public, or anyone else who is not a member of the A2J Sector elite.

They are a big problem.

Assumption (1): Only members of the legal establishment can engage in informed and useful discussions over A2J

Despite continuous efforts at NSRLP to bring forward the voices of (intelligent, polite, reasoned, thoughtful) members of the public, this is an astonishingly pervasive and persistent assumption. Even some deeply personally committed to A2J appear sometimes seem unable to truly comprehend what they could possibly learn from a “non-lawyer”.

Way too often, the argument is made that lawyers are the ones with the knowledge and experience to really understand what needs to happen, and further that lawyers are the only ones who can understand the really important points that only they are equipped to make (wait – isn’t that a tautology?). Surely no one who isn’t a lawyer can actually stand up and make coherent arguments (advocacy) on a complex legal topic?

While it is true that not all lawyers are equal in the A2J Sector hierarchy (see (3) below), there is an alarming monopoly claimed by the legal profession on “making the really important points” (presumably the points that only lawyers can really understand, right?). The assumption is that no one who isn’t a lawyer can have any important observations to make on a complex topic (“our” topic, the law).

(This exclusivity has historically also extended to non-lawyer experts who can offer social policy and evidence-based advice, but that is the subject of another blog – my focus is the public here).

I am asked over and over when I suggest we could include the voice of a SRL – on a conference panel, on a policy group, at a think-tank – “what is it that they can tell us that we do not know?” Most days I am too polite to do this, but what I really want to say in response to this question is:

“Seriously?”

Assumption (2): The public isn’t really concerned about A2J issues

Again and again I have been assured – by people who appear to simply believe this rather than relying on any actual evidence – that the public isn’t especially bothered about A2J anyways (this may be a natural consequence of assumption (1) ie they know nothing).

So, the reasoning goes, we should probably just let them get on with thinking about all the other things that preoccupy them – inflation, divorce, the latest Internet conspiracy theory – rather than bring them into a debate over their problems in accessing the justice system and a discussion of what the solutions might be.

The deeply paternalist attitude is both offensive and inaccurate. Many, many members of the public are affected by the A2J crisis. Because lack of access to legal rights can have as much impact on an individual life as an ability to access health care, or education, or housing. And many of them want to talk about it. I know this because of the people we hear from every single day at NSRLP. Because of the number of times I speak about the SRL phenomenon to a skeptical and sometimes hostile legal audience and the AV guy, or one of the wait staff putting out the coffee, comes up to me afterwards and whispers “Thank you for saying what you did. These people just don’t get it.”

Assumption (3): Having important insiders with impressive qualifications talk to one another is more important than actually providing services

The A2J Sector reflects – but worse, sustains – elitist hierarchies that are unhelpful in tackling social change.

Judges, policy makers, ancient academics (like myself), and influential institutional lawyers (private practice lawyers in the trenches are often marginalized in the A2J Sector) are all part of an upper echelon that appears most comfortable when they are (1) talking not doing and (2) talking to one another.

Many, maybe most, of these individuals sincerely want to offer better services to the public, but the assumptions that govern their efforts and the focus of their deliberations are a big part of the problem.

Of course every social movement has its internal pecking order. And it may be that part of the paralysis we are seeing at a national level is the result of a lack of clear leadership. Now that would be a useful form of hierarchy.

Instead what we have is a “must invite” list that is the same for virtually every think tank gathering. We have the feeling that only certain people can “speak” for the A2J Sector, and anyone who steps forward from the lower ranks – a court services foot solider, a law student with a great idea, a “non-lawyer” (argh!) from a social agency, or, most ghastly of all, a member of the public – is speaking “out of turn”.

The Problem with the 3 Assumptions

These 3 assumptions impede real progress towards tackling the A2J crisis in Canada because:

  1. They diminish the energies, ideas and smarts that could be brought to bear on the A2J crisis.
  2. They reflect an elitist, hierarchical and sometimes self-interested (and therefore limited) approach to solving the A2J problem.
  3. They do not recognize the importance of building a public constituency for change.

At NSRLP, we are sometimes been told that we are speaking out of turn, and to get back in line, so to speak. At the same time, I am one of those ancient academics who are part of the hierarchy, and I acknowledge that this may have helped us.

I believe that if the many people of good intent who are part of the A2J Sector are going to be effective in developing and implementing some solutions to our extraordinarily complex A2J crisis, we have to challenge these 3 assumptions. We need to recognize where they are holding us back. And we have to break out of our hierarchies and challenge our own thinking.

The public is ready – what are we waiting for?

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Comments (17)

  • sandra olson Reply

    when I was in court representing myself in a paternity matter, I made all legally valid points, supported by evidence. none of which was considered or mattered at all. the courts were rude, hostile and encouraged the same from opposition lawyers. it was just a joke. this is what the court ends up looking like. you may chose to disregard what is being said by slrs, but when it is true, it is true. and the courts refusal to deal with the facts proves very clearly, the prejudice, hostility, and lack of access to the courts that exist for unrepresented public members.

    November 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm
  • twechar Reply

    Well said Julie!

    November 17, 2014 at 4:03 pm
    • sandra olson Reply

      I am not Julie. my name is Sandra olson. my case is in Chilliwack bc. the details are mostly online, what little the courts would let on line. mostly, everything I said and submitted was ignored and disregarded. even that which was supported by documentation. I relied on the evidence act to facilitate this. apparently if the courts don’t like you, they don’t have to follow the evidence act. or any other act for that matter.

      November 18, 2014 at 12:48 am
  • Rob Harvie Reply

    Speaking (as I often do here) as “the enemy” – being a lawyer and, for the time being, a Bencher with the Law Society of Alberta – I would make the following observations:

    a) I think that the “hierarchy” invested in the A2J discussion is, in fact, very well intentioned and sincere in their desire to help the public. However, I would share the concern that there is a certain “invested” core in the A2J discussion that has a very difficult time in taking a step back and seeing the “forest for the trees”. I have been engaged in the A2J discussion with various groups for several years, and have also grown somewhat frustrated with the continued talk without action;

    b) That being said – the knee-jerk to “less talk more action” most often in Justice results in taking on a new initiative based upon “brainstorming” with various stakeholders (quite often without serious discussion in my opinion with the “consumer” – clients, SLR’s – and the “lawyer in the trenches”)- but without a fundamental examination and data collection identifying the source of the problem and likely solutions arising from that;

    Why this problem isn’t being solved as effectively as it could?

    In my opinion – money.

    What is needed, in my opinion, is a massive cross-jurisdictional commitment which would create a unified and coherent structure for examination and creation of solutions – with significant funding to allow for a more or less scientific approach to finding the optimal changes required. Right now everyone seems to agree A2J is a problem of significance, and, yet, the effort to make change is based upon – in my opinion – a shoestring budget.

    Every province across Canada is engaging in some sort of “brainstorming”, separate and apart from efforts in other provinces to some degree – and, in fact, with sectors inside the provinces working independent of each other seeking to gain government support for assisting in funding THEIR A2J problem (see recent Legal Aid battles for example).

    All of this happens with scant allocation of government resources to fully fund a full and complete examination of the problem and creation of a solution.

    To more clearly illustrate the problem – the legal system has, more or less, remained premised upon the same “technology” for well over 100 years. While we have computers and email and digital data of all sorts – fundamentally – the umbrella of it all is the adversarial system of justice, premised upon two combatants pounding each other into submission before an independent arbiter who will, finally, say, “the winner is….”.

    Is that appropriate?

    Well.. imagine if we rolled health care technology 100 years:

    – no insulin for diabetes
    – no vaccines for most diseases including whooping cough, tuberculosis or polio
    – no penicillin
    – no EKG’s, no MRI’s, no defibrillators
    – no transplants
    – no improvements of any kind in medical science or technology for the last 100 years.

    Now – imagine that someone had a crystal ball and understood all of what could be done – and suggested we engage in research and study to improve medicine and medical technology – but the response of government was, “Yes, we know that we should do some research into these things – but darn, they’re just so expensive. Rather than move medicine into the 21st century, we’ll make do with the equipment and technology of 100 years ago, but we’ll “brainstorm” over how to effectively use antiquated equipment more efficiently and effectively.”

    Hell, we’ll even invite patients to the brainstorming session – including those who have been forced to treat themselves because they can’t afford a doctor.

    Would things improve in any significant way – notwithstanding full discussion with all interested parties and the best of intentions?

    Not likely.

    Now you have a sense of where A2J is today in Canada and much of the western world.

    In fairness to government – the politicians will say, “If I spend a few million dollars on studying “justice” and how to improve it, while limiting funding for health care or education, I’ll lose the election, and the evil bastards from the other parties will infect society with their evil plans to the great loss of the public..”

    Solutions?

    I think – what needs to happen – is that the public needs to get engaged about how justice matters on a very fundamental basis. That, for example, when looking at the work of the Norlien Foundation (see: http://www.norlien.org/ ) – we can see that children in divorce who experience trauma of conflict may actually suffer permanent physiological and mental damage – that could likely result in future addiction, teen pregnancy, expanded need for child services assistance, criminal behavior (more court, jail, and other direct and indirect social costs) – so you can spend some money now, or you can spend more later.. and we make some hard social decisions that, well, maybe students in Quebec will pay more tuition in University, and maybe we’ll institute user-fees into health care, and, well, maybe we’ll increase taxes slightly, and maybe we won’t build that stadium or whatnot..

    And while we’re doing this – there needs to be an acknowledgement that there are no sacred cows. Lawyers, Judges, Court Administration, Universities, and, yes, SRL’s and the public generally need to be able to be examined honestly and criticized where necessary regarding their contribution to the problem and their responsibility for the solutions.

    So – as I often do – in response to Julie’s post, I agree and disagree. I think there is a certain limited hierarchy that often ultimately makes decisions of system changes – with inadequate consultation and input from all stakeholders and in particular, from a proper analysis of empirical data.

    However, without proper funding and organization, expanding the invite list isn’t going to make the changes necessary. It’s going to take, I believe, a fundamental economic commitment from government, and therefor, from the public.

    Is that going to happen?

    I guess I wouldn’t have volunteered a few hundred hours of my time every year to help work on solutions if I thought it was hopeless. Difficult, discouraging – but not hopeless.

    November 18, 2014 at 11:28 pm
  • sandra olson Reply

    i agree with the above comments, all access to court should be free. if there are any blocks on access to justice,it is a fundamental violation of the charter rights of the public to access the courts…however, the system is not the only problem. something that is very old is missing, manners. respect. and common sense. when you have someone approaching the court, if they have not had the courtesy of the complete release of all evidence then any decision is not made honestly and validly. if that litigant is asking for full disclosure, and it is refused, and decisions rendered without it, the court has now become the problem. honesty, is a central requirement of all parties,. it cannot be assumed to be there. if the evidence does not fully explain what is happening, then disclosure requirements have not been met, if the courts have a rule of disclosure, it is not there just for entertainment. and no decision from the court should be issued unless all requirements have been met. currently, only the strong survive, no matter what act is being violated. how about, do not make a decision unless all acts are met. that is not happening, currently, if the judge likes what you have to say, regardless of anything else, you win. the courts have rules, that no one is following. and how about the most important rule, be courteous, be respectful and demand that all parties. lawyers as well.conduct themselves with the this in mind. what I witnessed in the courts was disgraceful.

    November 19, 2014 at 1:44 am
  • Chris Budgell Reply

    I’ve said many times before and will say again that money isn’t the fundamental problem or the solution. If I came up with an extra $1B for the next fiscal year what would it buy? The input to legal process is time (in the case of SRLs mostly unpaid time). More money can only buy more time if it buys more legal professionals. I don’t hear many voices in the profession saying that there should be a doubling of the number of lawyers.

    November 19, 2014 at 3:08 am
  • Rob Harvie Reply

    Chris – I’m not suggesting we pay more lawyers.. I’m suggesting that there is very sparse research and thought into the architecture of the system.. while medical research and innovation grows rapidly, the law lags behind. I can make the system really fast and cheap by equipping every Judge with a “justice coin” and have them slip, heads or tails.. that isn’t any solution. Or we could just remove all rules of procedure and evidence and allow people to come to court with unsworn letters and statements, free from any right of cross-examination – and just have a sort of “Thunderdome” free for all.. that’s not an answer either. The legal system is complex for very good reasons – just as medical procedures are complex, but I believe that if the will and the money is there to re-invent the system, great improvements can be made for the benefit over everyone. Just my opinion though.

    November 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm
    • sandra olson Reply

      hello Rob. this is Sandra olson. you make reference to the rights of cross examination, evidence and procedure. I applied the rules of evidence to my case, I requested repeatedly the production of the complete dna file for independent examination. it was also very hard to find an independent person in this field, it is a lot like the medical field, they are unregulated, unrequired to report or examine errors, and with no way to verify standards, also, for the sake of it, unstandardized, despite my requests to the court for cross examination or full production of evidence, the courts disregarded this, and threw me out, opposition lawyers simply set a court date in a different jurisdiction for the same day I had scheduled for the examinations for discovery in what I thought was the location of the file because I had always attended court here, just con man stuff, despite my many attempts to obtain evidence, djsclosure was never granted, discovery never proceded, and judgement was entered against me because I wasn’t in court. the courts do not extend any reliable application of any of these RIGHTS. they apply them if they feel like it. to self represented litigants, they are almost never provided with these rights. if the legal system is complex for the reason of protecting rights, they are not doing it.

      ]

      November 20, 2014 at 12:00 am
  • sandra olson Reply

    I DISAGREE CHRIS more money should be provided so there are NO FEES and no punitive costs for people who simply want a legal issue addressed. as everyone knows, it is a charter right to access justice. without it being free, there are significant blocks on access to justice. and these fees drive up the costs of a lawyer. AS WELL, SLRS time, is not unpaid. if it sucks up all your time, your work suffers, your homelife and your other responsibilities suffer. and it costs. the government needs to fully fund the courts. immediately. and including SLRS AND THEIR INPUT into discussion on this matter is vital. how can decisions be made with only half the information. that is what is happening in the courts now, and it is not working so well for justice. What needs to be addressed immediately as well, is the lack of honesty, courtesy, respect for others. when the idea is to win no matter what, justice has died. going to court requires the COURT ensure that all evidence is verified, and determined to be accurate or not. it should not fall to the other party to fight to be heard over the false evidence. that is the purpose of the evidence act, yet, it is NOT enforced by the court. and we all see the consequences.

    November 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm
  • Chris Budgell Reply

    My previous comment was purposely terse. I could write a book expanding on it. We have to have a better understanding of what the term “justice” means. All lawyers know, and sometimes point out, what would happen if “justice”, i.e. “due process”, was available at no cost. However what we have is a system that sells “justice” as a very expensive comodity. I believe a good place to start is to redefine justice / due process so that it discourages injustice, thus reducing the demand for justice. My own fight began in the labour /employment field. I found that what is passed off as due process is undue process / abuse of process, and it encourages more injustice.

    I’m involved in another case now that began with a workplace termination in 2010. It has since resulted in a great deal of undue process / abuse of process, including a lengthy arbitration hearing, submissions to the provincial labour board and then a complaint to the law society. Now we are in court challenging the law society’s conduct of that complaint.

    On October 14 there was a hearing at which I was not permitted to speak. Out of it has come an “oral ruling” marked “SEALED FILE”. I’m named 18 times in that ruling but we know for a fact that the judge instructed court staff not to give me a copy. Anyone who reads that ruling would be unable to understand why it is “sealed”. Does this sound like reality? It is surreal. They are on a self-destructive trajectory because the public is going to learn all about this case sooner or later. What does any of that have to do with money? What we are seeing is proof that this is not a justice system, by any reasonable definition. You can’t solve the kind of problems we are seeing with money. The answer is accountability.

    November 20, 2014 at 12:23 am
  • Cynthia Eagan Reply

    Rob Harvie– I appreciated reading your comments. Maybe A2J is on its way to becoming a political movement, or a faction, to be listened by our politicians?

    November 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm
  • Alan Reply

    From my experience being a self-represented litigant, I personally don’t think the lack of funding is the key reason why the court system can’t create an efficient system that is modern day per se for the general public. Instead, it feels more because a group of people want to keep it the way it is for their own personal reasons and there is no real way to keep them accountable.

    For example, to my knowledge if for whatever reason you need to get court transcripts to investigate a case or for more serious matters like say a judge’s conduct you are forced to pay hundreds of dollars for this. I cannot just simply use my own digital video camera that won’t interfere with the court and leave it on as it records the whole session for proof. I could instantly after say “Here is a copy for the court, one for myself” which would save everyone time/money from having to purchase a transcript for a public record if needed(Not to mention video is better than audio to truly see what happened). But of course that wouldn’t allowed at the moment.

    As another procedure example even from my experience, is it not true that during the “without prejudice sessions” that whatever is said in those rooms stay in those rooms? So even if a person admitted “I did it” everyone is supposed to pretend it was never said as they are then pushed to the next step because that is how it is done. Does that have anything to do with money or technology for example as to why it is so off the wall? Essentially, in the next session the person can just say “I never said that” and any court official has to abide and say “I didn’t hear anything.” Basic facts, logic and common sense should rule.

    From experience and observations too, most of the “complex laws” aren’t even abided by in a well-known fashion that doesn’t require more research. Example, a procedure of sworn letters, statements and even affidavits aren’t even taken seriously in many cases where you can probably find a story about it in every corner. Like to me, as an outsider initially my thought was that if someone writes blatantly false materials in their statements or submitted facts then they will be held accountable. However, to my knowledge a lot of legal professionals and judges have an attitude of “Well, everyone lies in court” and laugh at the idea that people would get “justice” in that way as things like these are never usually enforced.

    Like here, it doesn’t matter if the system is provided a trillion dollars as a lot of the issues I feel aren’t about money at all. It feels like it is more about the people who are in charge and how essentially they want to do things the same way. This leads to things like the mistreatment of the public and the cases that are brought forth to the court process.

    November 25, 2014 at 1:32 am
  • Delmer O. B. Martin Reply

    A2J and How The Legal System is Functioning…WHO IS SERVING WHO?

    We as a modern society need to all know and face the truth! In my life’s experiences I been privileged to have retained a few of the top rated big city litigators AND I have also experienced being a SRL during litigation and at trial. I feel very sorry for all SRL and for the average members of our society. I sympathize with all of you that are frustrated. I even feel sorry for the many officers of the court and the A2J who are trying their best to administer justice. I can testify that even if you have the best lawyers and the most money and the best case, Judicial Bias can completely eviscerate a good case. In my major case the more I fought for the documented truth, the more the judge leaned towards the other sides verbal diarrhea. This kind of sabotage happens very subtly and occurs both innocently and sometimes deliberately when a judge decides on who should or will win before hearing the whole case. It becomes even more egregious when the judge reads the pleadings before trial etc. (or discusses the case with someone) and forms opinion(s) before the case even begins. In my personal experience even the Appeals Court will very carefully craft their written judgement to protect such a bias. Once in a while a token (not so privileged) judge or JP or lawyer will be singled out for discipline to give the “appearance of justice”.

    Who do the officers of the court swear allegiance to? I have found that it is a fact that officers of the court are loyal to and protect each other and even if there is a direct conflict between the client who retained them and the officers of the court they will protect their fellow officers of the court (and NOT their own client) This is disgraceful unconscionable and should be illegal but it is not, Really! The truth is, that our modern system serves itself and its privileged members and its largest stakeholders and NOT we the people! This must be fixed and if it is not, the most highly privileged in our society will continue to operate and bully the average person because it is the “love of money” and “the love of power” that will persevere and indeed prevail.

    Seeking justice in our legal system is akin to taking a flyswatter and attacking an active wasps nest; while alternatively settling a case before a fair trial is in effect accepting less than what is constitutionally owed.

    In summation the more powerful an officer of the court (or an A2J) is, the more bias will attempt to creep in and ruin even a perfect law. This becomes an especially egregious and critical error when the opposing side happens to be very avaricious and is using “sharp practices” . Judicial Bias wrecks everything that is true and just, whether it is admitted or not! A senior LawPro litigator has disclosed to me “we solicitors think of the Superior Court Justice as being God and we think the Appeals Court Justices are GOD!!! In addition, as a famous Ontario Appeals Court Justice has stated to an Ontario law class “There are very few, if any cases where THE LAW will stand in my way of reaching a result that I think is just” Ironically the one thing that those privileged with power will never be able to achieve, is to convince someone like myself that I received justice, that is unless they find the power to turn back the clock. After much soul-searching, what I am personally disclosing is not open for negotiation with me since I have found it to be a fact!

    Both femininity and masculinity have become corrupted and a complete scam. Unbundled legal services are NOT working either due to the root of the problem as I have specifically described. The very idea that the average client could actually save money flies in the face of the way the legal system is designed now. The reason that most all lawyers (if they are honest) do not do much unbundled legal services are simply because they are scared of the liability potential! (It is still an all or nothing reality) In addition The Law has become far to complicated. It is also obvious the more rules and regulations and laws that we have, the worst things actually work for most all of our society. Is my “only solution” to pray for a solution?

    Can our system even be fixed, or is it beyond repair??? I have won and I have lost in court. I am fully aware that it is very easy for an adjudicator (or officer of the court) to appear to serve justice while simply and carefully picking and choosing which evidence or whose evidence to focus on…In addition The Law is far too voluminous and complicated and to make matters worst, all new law is simply being made up/legitimized by those in power as we progress as described above. There is simply far too much money and power up for grabs and those paying for it are the everyday average clients and the SRL. This must change because the system and all the officers of the court MUST serve society/the clients! Just in case you are thinking that all I am doing is complaining and not offering any solutions…I sincerely hope that you ALL come up with a better solution because the way I personally feel, my solution would be to go back to the “wild west” days and or alternatively believe/trust our creator. Look around and ask yourself the question; WHO is SERVING WHO? where will YOU end up if the general public becomes more aware and involved and this opinion becomes the majority opinion. What do you really think will happen??? to you??? and your loved ones? Things need to be fixed and I hope your solution is better than mine!!!

    Thank You so much for reading my opinion.

    November 27, 2014 at 9:29 pm
  • sandra olson Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly with this gentlemans observations of the way the court is picking and choosing evidence they like and don’t like. they disregarded almost all I said and produced evidence to support. they slandered me in court, I repeatedly requested the file to be released for review, and the opportunity to cross examine, rights uder the law. I got none of these. a decision the court liked. to throw me out,, without any opportunity to obtain what is needed to properly prepare your case,, the actual dna file., the privacy commission of bc recently ruled in my case that even though my lawyer or doctor is entitled to this material I am not, since my lawyer or doctor would be supposedly obligated to show me the entire file this was just insanity. the courts allowing this is insanity. and it strikes me as somewhat criminal. as to the suggestion that money is not the problem I disagree. if a court case will bankrupt most people and the opposition knows this, if they do not want to get caught they will just drag the case on and on. until you have no more money and must srl then they eat you alive because the courts will not hear anything you say. no justice, it died a long time ago in the courtroom. it died with crooked lawyers and judges and politicians. some who cut funding for the courts and shifted it to the public. some who used that to their advantage, and some who make rules of evidence,,, and then don’t follow them.
    dna is in the courts without a regulatory body. to ensure standards, to report error and fraud to, to maintain error rate statistics. etc there is no way to verify standards that labs claim. they do not answer in court if no judge makes them. and they don’t and without verifiable standards, without a known and proven error rate without a regulatory body to protect the rights of the public, the public is really screwed. and how this got into court without any clinical trials to prove the claimed 99.9 percent accuracy rate they claim,,, this court decision only serves the judges who don’t want to think to hard or hear anything but one word from a genetics person,, no matter that the courts cannot read most of this report, and very few lawyers or judges know what any of it means. yet the public is left on their own to obtain the file,,, without the help of the court, and then find someone in the genetics industry willing to speak out against his fellows. very rare and even when or if you do find this person… the rest of the labs ignore it. I had one police office suggest that I probably wrote the dna report supporting fraud in the material i obtained from calgary hospital and vancouver hospital etc. myself. all of this is the death of justice., not the advancement.

    December 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm
  • sandra olson Reply

    under the evidence act, you are entitled to receive a full copy of the entire file for independent review,.. you are entitled to cross examine the witnesses. and all evidence is supposed to be reproducible to be proven. I got none of these opportunities. despite my repeated requests to the court FOR these rights. I suggest the courts do not want their snow job on the public to be exposed. certainly the police do not. if the evidence act will not be honored and followed by the courts, the courts are a gong show. when I obtained what was supposed to be my dna file from Calgary childrens, it had no names on it. and when I sent it out to be independently reviewed OUT OF CANADA it was determined that this was not even my dna profile,, or my childs. when I confronted Calgary childrens with this,,, the privacy commission, supposed to be neutral,…. stepped in and said, they don’t have to answer questions .. they only have to produce the file. I said,,, but this is not my file . the lab replied,, yes it is,, but with no response to the professional genetic report stating it wasn’t. that was the end of it., it is,,, if they say it is. it is. how is that for insane.

    December 3, 2014 at 5:39 pm
  • Delmer O. B. Martin Reply

    WHO IS SERVING WHO? (an addendum)

    I was shocked when I actually looked up the word “client” in online dictionaries. We should ALL be aware of this BEFORE we become one. Simply the fact that we are called the “clients” and not even customers anymore makes my skin crawl.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/client stipulates that CLIENT is 1 : one that is under the protection of another : DEPENDENT

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dependent stipulates that DEPENDENT is : decided or controlled by something else : needing someone or something else for support, help, etc. : addicted to alcohol or a drug

    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/client stipulates that CLIENT is: 3(In ancient Rome) a plebeian under the protection of a patrician.”” and “Origin late Middle English: from Latin cliens, client-, variant of cluens ‘heeding’, from cluere ‘hear or obey’. The term originally denoted a person under the protection and patronage of another, hence a person ‘protected’ by a legal adviser”

    I guess this explains why we clients, are expected to pay in advance???… while on the other hand when an officer of the court and other certain privileged citizens make an error, (gets intro legal trouble) their insurance (LawPro in Ontario) simply takes over for them. (to do all the work and protect them personally and professionally and protect their assets).

    This is UNCONSCIONABLE and NOT FAIR OR JUST!

    December 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm
    • sandra olson Reply

      for a truly equal playing field,.. if the privileged ones like police officers. court staff politicians etc have full legal funding paid for by our government,,, we,, the unwashed masses are entitled to the same… this is the time for the courts and our politicians to start antying up. I remind them,, equal access to justice is a charter right.

      December 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm

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