Access to Justice

My thesis paper is centred on the inadequate access to justice in Canada and specifically in Ontario. It will focus on the increasing number of self-represented litigants in the Canadian legal system caused in part by the underlying assumptions supporting the adversarial process as well as the decreasing amount of legal aid funding received by Legal Aid Ontario over the decades and other causes. I would like to propose that we change the traditional role of judges and our courts in the adversarial framework to a more active one in order to allow for effective participation of self-represented litigants and I also argue in support of a constitutional right to legal aid for all citizens which should be recognized by our courts. In one of the articles I uploaded, a trial judge in Ontario is considered “brave” for stating, in support of an unrepresented accused man, that Legal Aid Ontario’s eligibility threshold is too low and does not reflect actual poverty levels in Ontario. As an example, I would like to incorporate this seemingly “positive” moment and expose how problematic it is for us to celebrate and commend a statement like this when it should be a duty for all judges to intervene and speak out against the inefficiencies of legal aid when it prevents an individual from getting a fair trial.

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