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Access_open Administering Justice and Serving the People

The Tension between the Objective of Judicial Efficiency and Informal Justice in Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords access to justice, procedural law, courts, civil justice reform, comparative law
Authors Catherine Piché
AbstractAuthor's information

    Canada has a complex system of courts that seek to serve Canadians in view of the traditional objectives of civil justice – principally accessibility, efficiency, fairness, efficacy, proportionality and equality. The Canadian court system is generally considered by its users to work well and to have legitimacy. Yet, researchers have found that ‘there is a tendency for people involved in a civil case to become disillusioned about the ability of the system to effect a fair and timely resolution to a civil justice problem’. This article will discuss the ways in which reforms of procedural law and civil justice have originated and continue to be made throughout Canada, both nationally and provincially, as well as the trends and influences in making these reforms. With hundreds of contemporary procedural reforms having been discussed, proposed and/or completed since the first days of Canadian colonisation on a national basis and in the Canadian provinces and territory, providing a detailed analysis will prove challenging. This article will nonetheless provide a review of civil justice and procedural reform issues in Canada, focusing principally, at the provincial level, on the systems of Ontario and Quebec. Importantly, I will seek to reconcile the increasing willingness to have an economically efficient civil justice and the increased power of judges in managing cases, with our court system’s invasion of ADR and its prioritisation of informal modes of adjudication.


Catherine Piché
Dr. Prof. Catherine Piché, Université de Montreal.
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