The Cost of Uncertainty: Navigating the Boundary between Legal Information and Legal Services in the Access to Justice Sector
Jennifer Bond, David Wiseman & Emily Bates, “The Costs of Uncertainty: Navigating the Boundary Between Legal Information and Legal Services in the Access to Justice Sector” 25 Journal of Law and Social Policy 1.
26 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2016
Date Written: March 1, 2016
The self-regulatory bodies that oversee legal professionals in Canada maintain strict control on the delivery of legal services, and access to justice projects must therefore always be conscious of activities that would violate certain restrictions. Careful adherence to these parameters is made difficult, however, by the lack of clarity about where the relevant boundaries are drawn. Using a project that provides legal assistance for refugees as a case study, this article highlights the challenges that the unclear distinction between "legal information" and "legal services" creates for access to justice initiatives. We conclude that the uncertainty can carry a variety of significant costs -- including financial expense, human resource burdens, and unnecessary limits on program innovation -- in a sector where affordable and creative solutions are desperately needed as a result of a persistent access to justice crisis. Ultimately, it is not merely the under-resourced access to justice sector that bears these costs, but rather disadvantaged individuals and society as a whole.
Keywords: refugee, access to justice, legal services, cost, legal aid
JEL Classification: I39, K19, K37, K40, K41, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation