Canadian Forum on Civil Justice

Document Type


Publication Date



In access to justice, needs are ordinarily conceived in terms of individuals experiencing legal problems requiring assistance from someone with expertise and resources to resolve that problem. Legal problems studies have pointed out the vast number of problems with possible legal aspects experienced by members of the public. In Canada, repeated national surveys have estimated that about half of all adult Canadians will experience one or more problems within a three-year period. This amounted to more than 11 million people estimated by the most recent Canadian study and a greater number of problems because some people experience multiple problems.1 This volume of need would overwhelm conventional legal services providers who embrace the notional goal of meeting the needs of the public. However, there are many examples of how access to justice can be extended toward meeting the needs of the public by partnering with community organizations that already assist people with problems. Developing successful collaborative partnerships between legal clinics and community-based helping organizations requires the recognition that these organizations have needs as do the individuals they assist. Meeting these needs is integral to expanding access to justice. Two kinds of needs are discussed in this paper; 1) needs related to assisting helping organizations better serve their own clients and 2) needs that arise from the collaborative partnership between legal service providers and helping organizations itself.

Included in

Law Commons