“What is Going Wrong with Access to Justice Projects”: Open Lab SurveyNSRLP
Echoing a query that we hear often about the practical impact of the various meetings, task forces and other efforts to draw together stakeholders to talk about A2J barriers and innovations, Margaret Hagan asked this question in a survey on her site posted from November to December 2014. The results are visually summarised here:
We were struck by how much these results – citing “challenges mis-framed”, “chill from regulation” (“big system changes are constrained by rules and norms that seem unalterable”), “lack of scaling” (many small scale projects, and a failure to spread ideas and innovations that work) “not user-centred”, “movement is disengaged” (“the public is not being involved in conversations about A2J”) – accord with what we hear in discussions on the NSRLP Blog https://representingyourselfcanada.com/category/blog/ among both SRLs and other system stakeholders who are becoming impatient for change.
This is not just idle criticism. All reasonable people recognize that the complexity of the A2J challenge – and the cultural resistance to change within the legal system – means that this is a long-term project – Rome was not built in a day. But there are solutions to some of these critiques.
See for example our New Year blog calling for more public engagement https://representingyourselfcanada.com/2015/01/08/new-year-wishes-5-excuses-for-not-involving-the-public-in-a2j-reform-to-leave-behind-in-2014/ . We could also do a better job of building out from innovatory projects – in courts, law schools, Legal Aid Plans – that are showing good results, allowing for local modifications and making a virtue out of the leadership efforts of small projects all over the country. For our part, at NSRLP we shall continue to try to keep you informed of the “best of the best”.