Colleen Hanycz, SSRN article: "More Access to Less Justice: Efficiency, Proportionality and Costs in Canadian Civil Justice Reform"

Colleen Hanycz, (Brescia University College, Osgoode Hall Law School) has posted a new article on SSRN: “More Access to Less Justice: Efficiency, Proportionality and Costs in Canadian Civil Justice Reform” (Civil Justice Quarterly, Vol. 27, Issue 1, 2008). Here is the abstract:

This paper critically examines the intersections between access to justice and efficiency reforms in civil justice policy. To achieve just ends, legal processes must strike an appropriate balance between efficiency of inputs and accuracy of outputs. Recent history in Canada, England and elsewhere reveals civil justice reform agendas dominated by streamlined procedures intended to deliver speedier and less costly dispute resolution. Responding to rapidly rising legal costs and delays, policymakers have come to equate less process with greater access. While empirical studies confirm that these reforms have created more efficient disputing frameworks and happier disputants, there has been scant data gathered to measure the other impacts of such reforms. In particular, how have these tapered procedures impacted on the ability of our adversarial model to deliver accurate, legally correct outcomes? By examining one such efficiency reform in Canada – that of interim/advance costs awards – we can see the potential danger resulting from reducing procedural safeguards without considering substantive impacts. It seems clear that efficiency reforms are bringing greater access, but what of greater justice?

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