The changing face of justice. The view from Osgoode Hall, looking south to Queen Street. A quick trip to Divisional Court to file papers, this was my view as I left the building. The image of a woman sitting on a bench, alone with her thoughts, is not that far removed from the images within the court itself. “Alone” is the common thread. Of the people served by the court staff when I was inside, none were lawyers other than me. All were self-represented litigants. All were trying to navigate the waters of appellate court jurisdiction on their own. Alone. It’s difficult enough for most lawyers to make it past the gate on an appeal or an application for judicial review, so I imagine the hurdles facing a self-represented litigant. I don’t need to ask any of them why they don’t have a lawyer, however. I know the answer. In most cases it has nothing to do with merit. It is all about money. It is all about arguing an uphill battle to convince an appellate court to second-guess a lower court, and needing ten thousand dollars up front to get a lawyer to take on that battle. Alone. More and more, I see litigants going it alone, because access to justice is a purely economic piece, and not a legal piece. And that is neither access nor justice.

The changing face of justice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *