Canadian Forum on Civil Justice

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Community-based legal services have long been a part of national legal services programs in countries that introduced legal aid programs in the early years of the access to justice movement. Because of inadequate funding for legal services the pressure to do more with less has been a constant in legal aid and access to justice services. This rationing of resources has driven much creativity, innovation and a wealth of ideas for improving the delivery of legal services and continues to do so. The ten ideas about community-based justice presented in this short paper are a small part of that much larger world. They are derived from projects exploring innovative approaches to the delivery of legal services carried out over several years with several community legal clinics in Ontario, Canada.1 The ten ideas are not a systematic summary of research results or of lessons learned. They are the main ideas that emerged in the early development of the projects, in observing the projects through the pilot phases and understanding the outcomes.

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