York University is the new home of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice. The Forum is moving to York from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law and will partner with the York Centre for Public Policy & Law (YCPPL) and Osgoode Hall Law School on various socio-legal research initiatives.
“The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice is considered a leader in interdisciplinary research on civil justice,” says Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Professor Lesley Jacobs, who teaches law & society and political science and is the director of the YCPPL. “It is a non-profit, independent, national organization established in May 1998 to help meet the challenges of modernizing our civil justice systems in Canada.” Leadership for the Forum is provided by Osgoode Professor Trevor Farrow, who serves as Chair of the Forum’s Board of Directors.
The Forum works collaboratively with all of the sectors and jurisdictions in the justice community in Canada, and increasingly those based internationally. Serving as a clearinghouse, coordinator and facilitator to share knowledge between jurisdictions, the Forum creates new knowledge, addressing gaps in information and understanding about the civil justice systems.
In its new setting, the CFCJ is moving ahead quickly to develop plans for new research initiatives to address the needs and challenges of civil justice systems in all jurisdictions in Canada. In early February, senior academic researchers and systems and technology specialists from several faculties of the University will meet to brainstorm and identify collaborative, multi-disciplinary research initiatives to address critical issues in civil justice processes and systems.
This meeting will be followed by a gathering in March of key Forum stakeholders from provincial attorneys general and federal justice departments, provincial law commissions and foundations, the judiciary, civil justice systems administration, the academy and other stakeholders with a critical interest in the effectiveness and efficiency of civil justice systems to discuss and provide input into the current and future role of the Forum, as well as specific research proposals for addressing important civil justice needs of the Canadian public.
“The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice acts as a catalyst to transform research knowledge into successful reform and encourages evaluation of new initiatives so that we may learn from the reforms that are undertaken,” says Jacobs. “Building on the Forum’s past successes, I anticipate numerous collaborative research projects and many exciting new opportunities in the months and years ahead ”
One of the Forum’s newest projects is focused on The Cost of Justice: Weighing the Costs of Fair and Effective Resolution to Legal Problems. This project will be described in more detail in the next SLAW colum