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Jan Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 97 THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S PAGE By the Honourable Suzanne Anton, Q.C.* THE PROMISE OF INNOVATION, THE PERILS OF ADHERING TO THE STATUS QUO We have all heard calls for more money. “More courthouses!” “More legal aid!” “More judges!” “Reinstate the Human Rights Commission.” Change in the justice system is difficult. One reason is the inherent difficulty of challenging those who advocate for continuing to do business as usual, whether that difficulty arises because of vested interests, ideological principles or what corporate innovation consultant Jeffrey Baumgartner refers to as “status quo bias”. After all, our justice system is respected throughout the world. It may seem an unlikely candidate for proposals of systemic transformation and bold innovations. I take a very different approach from those who would have us do business as usual. The challenges of the status quo—the cost in time and money, as well as complexity of the system—have resulted in processes that are sometimes disproportionate to the problems they are meant to address. It is with this in mind that the Ministry of Justice has been focused on how to improve access to justice and how to ensure the justice system and its processes are more affordable, are less complex and resolve disputes earlier for British Columbians. The Ministry’s approach means supporting existing justice institutions and programs, but also exploring new and innovative ways for resolving legal disputes. Indeed, innovation has been at the forefront of our endeavours. British Columbia’s justice innovation efforts have been buoyed by the timely convergence of a number of events. As “access to justice” has achieved greater prominence in our discourse, so too has awareness that * The Honourable Suzanne Anton, Q.C., is British Columbia’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General.


Jan Advocate 2017
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