BC's inaugural Access to Justice Week will take place from September 29 to October 5, 2018 with events in Vancouver, Kamloops, and Victoria. A2J Week is being led by BC’s three law schools - Allard Law School at the University of British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law, and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law - and aims to do two things:
JusticeHackBC, a weekend hackathon on September 29 and 30, will kick off the week. A hackathon is a time-limited event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development collaborate with subject-matter-experts to create useful software projects. JusticeHackBC will challenge participants to create solutions to access to justice barriers, particularly in the area of family law.
Lawyers and others with legal or practical access to justice knowledge are invited to form teams or register on their own and collaborate with participating technologists to develop ideas for tech tools to improve access to justice in some way. BC’s Chief Justice Robert Bauman, Civil Resolution Tribunal Chair Shannon Salter, and advocate for self-represented litigants Jennifer Muller will speak during the event and there will be prizes!
You can participate on-site in Vancouver, or remotely from anywhere in BC. It’s not too late to register. Get more information at justicehackbc.org and bit.ly/justicehackbcposterfaq. If you post the sort of project you’re interested in on Facebook.com/justicehackbc, organizers will try to connect you with a tech person in advance - otherwise that can be done during the event.
On Monday October 1 attend What’s Next in AI – and what that means for BC, a free half day event featuring keynotes, panels, and presentations from industry and government leaders, organized by Innovate BC. Spend the morning learning how Artificial Intelligence innovation is transforming the public and justice sectors and what that means for residents of British Columbia. Find out about BC’s first AI Challenge, underway from October 1 to 12.
Law School events
During the week there’ll be events at all three BC law schools – and some of them are open to the public. For example, Dr. Julie Macfarlane, Project Director of the National Self-Represented Litigants Projects, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law, and author of The New Lawyer: How Clients are Transforming the Practice of Law will be speaking in Vancouver, Victoria and Kamloops.
Here are some of the other events planned for A2J Week. Check the A2JWeekBC website for attendance and other details.
At UBC’s Allard Law School, events include Dr. Macfarlane discussing “What would A2J look like for victims of sexual violence?” at 12:30 on October 2. At 2:00 that afternoon, Allard Law’s Pro Bono Students Canada and Social Justice Action Network students’ clubs will present the self-represented litigants Game, a cooperative interactive game in which participants learn about challenges in self represented litigation.
On October 3 at 12:30 a panel will discuss “Lawyering with Heart: Violence informed and solution-focused lawyering for Indigenous youth and families”. And on October 4, the Indigenous Law Students Association will lead a vigil for Missing and Murdered Women. Get details here (link inactive) of these and other A2J week events at the University of British Columbia.
Also in Vancouver, on October 4 and 5 the 7th national Pro Bono Conference will bring together lawyers, paralegals, law students, judges, politicians, government representatives, non-profit sector leaders, academics and the public from Canada, the US and abroad to share ideas and best practices for increasing access to justice for all members of society.
Organized by Access Pro Bono BC, the conference will feature plenary and workshop topics including: justice system reform, supporting self-represented litigants, serving Indigenous communities, unbundled legal services, reduced rate legal services, paralegal pro bono services, the politics of access to justice, and good corporate citizenry. It will include a 12 hour CPD (Continuing Professional Development) stream on skills and resources for lawyers wanting to provide pro bono or reduced rate legal services. Speakers will include Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Richard Wagner and retired justices Cromwell and Deschamps, BC Supreme Court Justice Len Marchand, and Provincial Court Judge Nancy Phillips.
Law students at the University of Victoria will hold an A2J Fair on September 24 where students can meet representatives of university clinics and community groups to learn about opportunities for volunteer legal work to increase A2J. On October 1, they’ll have a chance to learn about the challenges faced in cases involving self-represented litigants by playing the Self-Represented Litigants Game. Dr. Julie Macfarlane will be speaking at UVic on Thursday October 4 at noon. Get more details here (link inactive) about A2J Week in Victoria.
On Saturday September 29, law students from Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Faculty of Law and staff from TRU’s Community Legal Clinic will be at the Farmers’ Market, offering information and intake referrals to the Clinic. October 1 features a launch event in the law school atrium at 1:00 pm, a panel on transnational access to justice at 2:30 pm, and noted Indigenous lawyer Mavis Erickson will give a talk titled "Understanding Cross-Cultural Challenges: Accessing Justice as an Indigenous Woman" at 5:30 pm, sponsored by the TRU Indigenous Law Students Association.
On October 2, the Community Legal Clinic will offer information and free coffee outside its location on Victoria Street from 8:00-10:00 am. Dr. Julie Macfarlane will speak to TRU law students on October 3 and will give a talk to members of the legal community at 4:30 pm (for 1 hour CPD credit). .
On October 4 at 1:00 pm, TRU’s Pro Bono Students Canada chapter will run the Self-Represented Litigants Game, where individuals can experience some of the challenges facing self-represented litigants. Also on October 4, Hersh Perlis from Ryerson University’s Legal Innovation Zone will speak about legal technology and access to justice. Find details here (link inactive) about events in Kamloops during A2J Week.
A2J Week has support from the Law Foundation of BC, the Law Society of BC, the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, Courthouse Libraries BC, and Access to Justice BC (A2JBC).