Raising A2J — It Takes a Village

Small claims resources from CLEBC

August 2018

Don’t mistake the Access to Justice crisis as a legal sector problem when in truth it’s a broader social crisis. The National Self Represented Litigants Project (“NSRLP”), led by Professor Julie Macfarlane, has produced a bevy of reports lately, from the SRL perspective. Recently, the NSRLP coordinator shared her personal story of getting educated on the depths of A2J’s problems. Her perspective as a librarian without previous legal training spotlights how obscure the crisis is to those not in the cloister of the law. Until they get stuck in a legal problem, many people think legal aid is there if they ever get into real trouble. As we know, that is a fallacy for most. The NSRLP points to public libraries as an underutilized resource to help cure the misperception.

Courthouse Libraries BC (“CLBC”) is unique among Canadian jurisdictions in that CLBC has long enlisted public libraries in its A2J and Public Legal Education and Information (“PLEI”) strategy (via the CLBC LawMatters program). CLBC co-ordinates the publication of legal information and acts as the trusted conduit for authoritative legal texts and PLEI, syndicating these to hundreds of public libraries. Legal professionals can always send SRLs to the CLBC branches, or to the LawMatters collection at their local library.