No Lawyer for a Hundred Miles? Mapping the New Geography of Access of Justice in Canada

Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 52(1), Forthcoming

Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 74/ 2014

60 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2014 Last revised: 31 Oct 2014

See all articles by Jamie Baxter

Jamie Baxter

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law; Yale University - Law School

Albert Yoon

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 23, 2014

Abstract

Recent concerns about the geography of access to justice in Canada have focused on the dwindling number of lawyers in rural and remote areas, raising anxieties about the profession’s inability to meet current and future demands for localized legal services. These concerns have motivated a range of policy responses that aim to improve the education, training, recruitment and retention of practitioners in underserved areas. We surveyed lawyers in Ontario to better understand their physical proximity to clients and how, if at all, that proximity promotes access to justice. We find that lawyers' scope of practice varies based on a number of factors, and in several areas of law lawyers serve clients beyond their immediate locality. Our results suggest that debates about the geography of access should be premised on the goal of territorial justice as an equitable distribution of legal services rather than a narrower emphasis on the equal distribution of lawyers.

Keywords: Access to justice, law and geography, empirical legal studies, law and society, rural and remote lawyers, territorial justice

JEL Classification: K00, K19, K40

Suggested Citation

Baxter, Jamie and Yoon, Albert, No Lawyer for a Hundred Miles? Mapping the New Geography of Access of Justice in Canada (October 23, 2014). Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 52(1), Forthcoming; Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 74/ 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2513871

Jamie Baxter

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

6061 University Avenue
6061 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Albert Yoon (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

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