Legal Service Provision in Northern Canada
Summary of Research in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon



1.1 Purpose of the report

Justice Canada commissioned three studies into legal service provision in Northern Canada, one each in the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.), Nunavut, and the Yukon, which were carried out between March and August 2002. The N.W.T. and Yukon studies were conducted by Focus Consultants and the Nunavut study by IER and Dennis Glen Patterson. This document is intended to summarize the results of the three studies, drawing out the areas of commonality and difference among the three jurisdictions, identifying areas of unmet need, and putting forward solutions suggested by study respondents, where applicable.

1.2 Issues for examination

The Request for Proposals issued by Justice Canada listed ten issues to be examined by the research teams. These issues were identified by representatives of the three territories as being key to understanding the delivery of legal services in the northern context. The ten issues were:

  • The impact of court structure, geography, and culture on the demand for legal services, pattern of service delivery, and quality of services.
  • The impact of circuit courts on service delivery.
  • The increased role of courtworkers.
  • Unmet needs for legal representation in Justice of the Peace (JP) courts.
  • Unmet needs in family and other civil matters.
  • Unmet needs prior to first appearance or first instance.
  • The interplay between the criminal and civil problems in the generation of legal needs.
  • Public legal education and information (PLEI) needs.
  • Factors driving legal representation costs.
  • The impacts of federal legislation, policies, and resource allocation decisions on cost per case and territorial allocations of legal aid resources.

1.3 Format of the report

The summary report is divided into the following sections:

Section 1.0


Section 2.0

Methodology - summarizes the quantitative and qualitative research methodologies used in the three jurisdictions.

Section 3.0

Background Information - highlights key socio-economic characteristics of each jurisdiction, and compares the legal systems and systems for the delivery of legal services in place in the N.W.T., the Yukon, and Nunavut.

Sections 4.0 through 13.0

Address the ten issues raised by Justice Canada as the focus for these studies. They are presented in the order provided in subsection 1.2, above.

Section 14.0

Proposed Solutions - presents, for each jurisdiction, the solutions to unmet need proposed by respondents.

Section 15.0


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