Filling the Normative Hole at the Centre of Access to Justice: Toward a Person-Centred Conception

(2022) 55:1 UBC Law Review 149

54 Pages Posted: 6 May 2022

See all articles by Andrew Pilliar

Andrew Pilliar

Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 4, 2022

Abstract

Access to justice is often described as a significant problem, but it lacks a well-developed normative framework to understand and address the problem. This paper interrogates and critiques two leading conceptions of access to justice in Canada: one found in caselaw, the second found in contemporary academic work, public reports, and extra-judicial writing. While these conceptions differ from each other, both are ultimately constrained by a normative dependence on the rule of law and other institutional commitments that make them insufficient to respond to the scope of access to justice problems. This paper offers a new conception of access to justice that transcends these limitations by focussing on the people who experience access to justice problems. This person-centred conception of access to justice draws on Martha Fineman’s vulnerability theory to posit a normative approach that is both universal in scope and is also sensitive to the context of particular individuals. The paper elaborates this person-centred conception and also discusses some implications of this approach for the Canadian legal system.

Keywords: Access to justice, vulnerability theory, rule of law

Suggested Citation

Pilliar, Andrew, Filling the Normative Hole at the Centre of Access to Justice: Toward a Person-Centred Conception (May 4, 2022). (2022) 55:1 UBC Law Review 149, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4100809

Andrew Pilliar (Contact Author)

Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law ( email )

900 McGill Road
Kamloops, British Columbia
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.tru.ca/law/faculty-staff/faculty/andrew-pilliar.html

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