THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 6 P A R T 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 715
By Professor M. Jerry McHale, Q.C.*
ACCESS TO JUSTICE CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE UPDATE—
ACE PLAN 2018 –2019
The UVic Access to Justice Centre for Excellence (“ACE”) was established by
the Faculty of Law in late 2015 in response to the growing concern within
the justice community over the problem of diminishing access to justice,
and in the belief that there is a unique and important role that the academy
can and should play in the resolution of this problem.
ACE seeks to actively engage the law school with the rest of the justice
system, and in particular with respect to procedural issues involving access
to justice and the delivery of legal services. Academically it will focus on
better preparing students for the challenges that access to justice presents
to practitioners. ACE’s research and scholarship will focus on addressing the
access issue as experienced by both those who use the system and those
who provide the services.
ACE’s 2018/19 plan focuses primarily on the development of justice metrics.
There is a rapidly growing interest in empirical research and performance
measurement in justice systems around the world. Access reports and
studies in recent years have emphasized the paucity of access to justice
research and the poor state of metrics and data collection within Canadian
civil justice systems, as well as the potential for law schools to help rectify
these issues. Observing that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”,
the Canadian Bar Association’s Reaching Equal Justice Report1 of November
2013 drew an explicit link between the system’s lack of metrics and measurement
capacity, and the relative ineffectiveness of efforts over the last 20
years to enhance access to justice.
* Professor M. Jerry McHale. Q.C., is the director of ACE. ACE’s board consists of Professor Michelle Lawrence, Professor
Tim Richards and Ph.D. candidates Kathryn Thomson and Michael Litchfield. ACE is supported by the Faculty of Law, the
Legal Services Society, the Law Foundation of BC and the Ministry of the Attorney General.