20 May, 2022
Access to Justice Pathways – New Study
Understanding the pathways to access to justice has been identified as a key priority for stakeholders working within the civil justice system. Although there is a growing body of evidence highlighting the incidence of legal problems, much less is known about the pathways people take to resolve these problems. In British Columbia, specifically, there is very limited research on the pathways people take to resolve their civil and family legal issues. Yet, knowing the pathways people take is essential in making sense of how people’s legal needs are met.
The University of Victoria Access to Justice Centre for Excellence (UVic -ACE) just released a report on a study on Navigating Access to Justice Pathways: Problem Resolution Routes for People Experiencing Civil and Family Law Problems in British Columbia.  Based on qualitative interviews, the study explored the main pathways people use to resolve civil and family justice problems, the barriers and obstacles they encounter, the assistance they seek and sometimes receive, and the decisions they make along the way. The approach was fruitful and produced a snapshot picture of people’s lived experience of access to justice.
Participants often commented on the fact that there was a lot of information available to them, but that finding the specific information they were looking for could be challenging. They needed further guidance on how to use that information. They were looking for more concrete information about process, procedures, legal requirements, and the like. Many of them spoke of a critical juncture at which they needed confirmation that their own interpretation of the law was correct or that their choice of a course of action was sound. These observations suggest that legal capability was further developed and co-created with system actors as the participants moved along the various pathways.
 Yvon Dandurand, Jessica Jahn, Cathy Tait, Megan Capp (2022). Navigating Access to Justice Pathways: Problem Resolution Routes for People Experiencing Civil and Family Law Problems in British Columbia. Victoria (B.C.): University of Victoria Access to Justice Centre for Excellence. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/624371bb4b79a11c73224c3f/t/627ed42fe8dd671a25735173/1652479023679/Navigating+Access+to+Justice+Pathways_ACE_April+20_2022.pdf
Photo by Patrik Göthe on Unsplash.