What relationships do people have with law? Studies that have been done so far show that people have only very limited competency with respect to law. These studies also tell us that the Québécois consider the institution to be very legitimate, but they hesitate to employ it. It follows that the disaffection observed over the last 20 years affects the Small Claims Court just as much as areas where representation by legal counsel is encouraged. Similarly, the raise in the threshold for eligibility for Legal Aid, has not seemed to generate any significant increase in the number of cases processed or placed in counsels’ hands. Any project on access to justice requires a better understanding of this phenomenon. A series of surveys on relationships to law and justice will document this situation and re-open the debate on the contemporary notion (and needs) with respect to access to justice.
Director of ADAJ
Centre de recherche en droit public Faculté de droit Université de Montréal