Oct. 25, 2021
Access to Justice Week: Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre promotes respect for civil liberties and human rights
Located at the University of Calgary, the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre (ACLRC) undertakes research on contemporary civil liberties and human rights issues that are of concern to Albertans. The projects are diverse - from proposals for reform of human rights legislation, to a report on citizen complaints about police conduct, to a manual for lawyers who represent mentally disabled clients.
Access to Justice means different things to different people. In its narrowest sense, it represents only the formal ability to appear in court. Broadly speaking, it engages the wider social context of our court system, and the systemic barriers faced by different members of the community. Unfortunately, research papers and discussions often do not clearly set out what view of "access to justice" they are taking. This not only makes it challenging to understand the goals being sought, but it also makes it difficult to translate these goals into practical plans and programs.
The centre works in a variety of areas, including improving access to justice for elders, the homeless, new Canadians, people with disabilities, and youth.
Additionally, the centre provides educational services in human rights through the Human Rights Education Program. Designed for high school students, the program teaches students about human rights law, from the international level to the local level. The program combines direct teaching of students as well as coaching and assisting teachers in the human rights field.
The centre also hosts events on a monthly basis on a variety of civil liberties, access to justice and human rights projects.
Alberta Access to Justice Week
Access to justice can mean many things. It can mean getting the information necessary to know one’s legal rights and responsibilities. It can mean having meaningful access to the courts or another dispute resolution system when faced with a conflict. It can mean being able to retain a lawyer to represent one’s interests. It can mean having a say in the content of the laws that govern us. It can mean all this and more.