Accessing the justice system remains a challenge for many people: According to the Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG), 45 per cent of Ontarians say they face hurdles when trying to access the legal system.
To shed light on the access to justice issue, TAG manager, Sabreena Delhon, and freelance producer and writer, Jane Kim, started a podcast this month through TAG called “Architects of Justice.”
“We chose the podcast medium because it’s a new frontier for us,” says Delhon, host of the podcast, who works alongside producer, Kim. “We wanted to talk about the issue in a way that’s accessible to the general public.”
Season one of the podcast will consist of four episodes. A new episode will be available each Wednesday in September.
Topics discussed include the unbundling of legal services, self-represented litigants, overrepresentation of indigenous children in the welfare system and access issues regarding the use of technology within the legal system.
“We did our best in this first season to just have a bit of an access-to-justice-101 perspective. What’s the issue? What are the basic things that people need to understand? How can we establish the foundation for our listeners, going forward?” she says.
She adds that the podcast aims to present diverse voices in all episodes to show a multitude of perspectives. For example, one episode features a conversation with Cindy Blackstock, first nations child welfare activist and keynote speaker, and another features self-represented litigants.
The target audience of Architects of Justice is lawyers, paralegals, access to justice advocates and law students, but Delhon says she is hoping the podcast will introduce other people to the conversation as well.
Law students hold a special place of importance in the conversation because TAG wants to “equip these students with knowledge about access to justice” and once they are armed with this knowledge, to go out into the community and talk to the public to make the justice system more accessible.
“[Access to justice] is a really critical and complex issue and we need a lot of different heads working together to make a difference. So, we need to hear these stories,” she says. “We need to find smarter ways of advancing solutions. We need to get more people into the conversation, so that was the motivation behind the podcast.”
When can listeners expect season two? There’s no set date yet, but Delhon says an announcement will likely come at the end of the year or early 2018.
“We’re really excited about this. If anyone has any feedback about what we should do in our new season, we’re all ears,” says Delhon.
The podcast, recorded in a Toronto boardroom, is free and can be streamed through Soundcloud via the TAG website or subscribed to on iTunes.
TAG is also hosting its second annual Access to Justice Week Oct. 23-27 in Toronto.