Since 2013, the University of Saskatchewan College of Law has hosted the Dean’s Forum on Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice (the Dean’s Forum). The Dean’s Forum has proven to be a unique and valuable platform for connecting key stakeholders, generating innovative ideas, and inspiring change to address gaps in the current Saskatchewan justice system.
In the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters’ (the National Action Committee’s), A Roadmap for Change, Justice Cromwell encourages provinces to create provincial working groups focused on addressing the issue of access to justice. It was agreed by members at the March 2015 meeting of the Dean’s Forum, that a Saskatchewan Access to Justice Working Group (Working Group) be built on the successful and unique foundation of the Dean’s Forum.
The Dean’s Forum continues annually or biannually, and will maintain the core elements of student participation and multi-stakeholder collaboration. The Working Group provides an advisory/oversight role to the Dean’s Forum, and provides advice for implementation of ideas generated, as appropriate.
In addition to the establishment of a Working Group, it was also suggested by members of the Dean’s Forum, that a coordinator role be created to facilitate research and writing through the Dean’s Forum course, to coordinate Working Group activities, and to implement recommendations flowing out of the Dean’s Forum.
Brea Lowenberger was hired during October 2015 as the access to justice coordinator for the Working Group. The access to justice coordinator position has been funded by the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan, with support from the College of Law. Lowenberger supports the work of the Working Group and the Dean’s Forum, as well as connects with justice community stakeholders, students, and the community at large on initiatives that promote justice reform and access to justice.
Following Lowenberger’s hiring, the Working Group was established, and the first meeting of the Working Group took place during January 2016 at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law. The Working Group is set to meet a minimum of twice per year.