#TalkJustice is back!
#TalkJustice had a very productive and informative first year in 2015. As we embark on 2016, the Society is pleased to unveil the next chapter in this initiative to bring the public voice to the centre of justice reform efforts in Nova Scotia.
On May 22, 2015, more than 100 people gathered at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax with Society staff and Council members to mark the release of the #TalkJustice report.
The Society’s initial goal was to learn how contact with the justice system and the legal sector impacts the lives of Nova Scotians from equity-seeking and economically disadvantaged communities. The report reflects the breadth of feedback received during the first phase of the #TalkJustice project.
Much of what was said was expected: the cost of legal representation, the overwhelming complexity of the system, and experiences with racism and discrimination put justice out of reach for many Nova Scotians.
Keep an eye on TalkJustice.ca as details continue to unfold. Please join this important conversation on the Society’s Twitter and Facebook channels anytime, and use the #TalkJustice hashtag in your own posts to keep the conversation growing on social media.
If you have any questions or suggestions, you can also reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of what we heard surprised us: that there exists a strong demand for practical legal education to be built into school curricula starting from elementary school, and that many Nova Scotians see negative portrayals of their communities by the news media as a barrier to accessing justice.
Throughout the summer and fall of 2015, the Society focused on how to incorporate this feedback into our ongoing work. We are now ready to share what has been learned with Nova Scotians and the broader legal community across Canada.
The next phase
TalkJustice.ca was first imagined as a platform to house excerpts from conversations we had with Nova Scotians. These will continue, and this space is expanding to become a hub for the Society’s efforts to include the public voice in high-level discussions about how to improve access to justice and legal services in Nova Scotia.
Over the next several months, we will introduce the Society’s community engagement strategy, share projects we are working on and the conversations we are having, and talk openly about what makes justice system reform difficult. This work will be placed in the context of Nova Scotia’s history and national conversations about access to justice. We will highlight community projects in Nova Scotia and share innovative ideas from other jurisdictions.
Public protection mandate
Regular public consultation is part of the Society’s mandate to seek to improve the administration of justice, under section 4(1) of the Legal Profession Act. #TalkJustice stems from the Strategic Framework set out by Council: a key activity for the current year is to “advocate for enhanced access to legal services and to the justice system for equity-seeking and economically disadvantaged groups.”
Also driving the project are several national #A2J studies such as Access to Civil and Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change from October 2013, which calls for “putting the public first”.
The issues raised in #TalkJustice are helping to inform the Society’s priorities for future access to justice initiatives. The project also aims to strengthen community engagement around #A2J, by providing a dedicated space where conversations between the public and ‘the system’ can continue to grow.