Access to Justice and Beyond

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University of Toronto Law Journal. Volume 60 (2010), p. 373-396.


consumer welfare and legal aid; cost effective family law; Michael Trebilcock; middle class and legal aid; replacing courts with tribinal; access to justice; consumer protection


This essay examines Michael Trebilcock's access to justice scholarship from his work on consumer protection in the 1970s to his 2008 Legal Aid Review. Trebilcock's approach over the years has consistently been informed by a consumer welfare perspective, including a concern that the middle class be included in access to justice initiatives, and by a broad concern with access to markets and regulatory regimes as well as to adjudication. Trebilcock's use of public choice analysis, however, has made him more skeptical about the use of regulatory regimes to lessen or simplify disputes. The authors argue that the increased resources that would be required to add the middle class to legal aid might be better directed at the replacement of a costly court-based system in areas such as family law with a more efficient and holistic tribunal structure and by a return to the political process to produce regulation to limit and simplify disputes.

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