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Jan Advocate 2017

98 THE ADVOCATE 98 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 doing more of the same is neither financially sustainable nor something that will meet the needs of modern justice system users. Within the justice sector there have been numerous conferences, seminars, symposiums and meetings across the country and internationally, focused on addressing the need for innovation to enhance access to justice. And as Geoffrey Cowper notes in his fourth anniversary update of his work in this area, “the public has come to expect constant improvements in performance and service through innovation. Furthermore, the disruption of established ways of doing things has now been commonplace for so long it is no longer considered remarkable. It is expected.” As a concept, innovation is a compelling proposition. It promises to create or increase capacity to deliver citizen-centred services more efficiently, effectively and in ways that are responsive to justice system user needs. However, needs have shifted significantly over time and new opportunities have emerged to respond to those needs. In considering innovative approaches we have had to reconcile what we hear (more courts, more judges) with what we know (the influence of technology on public expectations; and the prevalence of, and preference for, early resolution and out-of-court settlements). The increasing numbers of unrepresented litigants tell us that policy and service gaps are growing. The adoption of tablets and smartphones tells us that we are interacting with each other, with information and with our institutions in new and different ways. And there is a growing body of evidence that indicates solutions created by families collaboratively are better and more enduring than courtordered solutions. In planning, pursuing and implementing innovation initiatives, British Columbia has been guided by our definition of transformative innovation. That definition includes two essential elements: a fundamental change in the user’s service experience that results in a significant, measurable increase in user satisfaction; and a significant, measurable reduction in costs, complexity and delay when comparing the traditional service to the transformed service. The judicial branch shows the same commitment to exploring reform that improves access to justice. Indeed, critical to the Ministry of Justice’s approach are the innovation goals and guiding principles outlined in A Roadmap for Change by the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, led by the Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell. Likewise, our efforts are informed by the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law (“HIIL”) innovation process, which is structured around six main pillars:


Jan Advocate 2017
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