Canadian Forum on Civil Justice

Document Type


Publication Date



There is a widespread recognition of the importance of not-for-profit organizations for meeting the access to justice needs of disadvantaged people. Centered within that growing body of literature, this paper points to the importance of community service agencies and voluntary organizations as resources that enable community legal clinics to identify and meet the legal needs and to provide social justice outcomes that would otherwise be beyond their capacity if limited to resources from conventional sources. The resources available from the community are not monetary. They include entrée into hard-to-reach and -serve populations, special knowledge of about the problems experienced by disadvantaged groups and collaborative partnering between trusted intermediaries and community legal clinics to achieve resolutions to problems that make sense to the people experiencing them. Collaborative partnering extends the reach of legal services, building the capacity of community groups and making them part of the ecosystem of access to justice. Illustrations supporting the “community as a resource” hypothesis are drawn from recently documented service delivery innovations developed in several Ontario community legal clinics.

Included in

Law Commons