Guiding Principle 3: Advancing justice data and metrics, or program evaluation
As the topic of access to justice continues to be at the forefront of many important legal and justice reform discussions, it has become increasingly clear that justice stakeholders are interested in implementing data and empirically informed changes. Numerous initiatives have been launched to address the access to justice problem, however, the creation of many of these projects has drawn attention to a glaring lack of data – especially a lack of qualitative ‘user’ focused feedback – which accompanies those problems.
To effect positive changes for those most affected by the access to justice problem, and to assess whether a program has been “successful”, CREATE Justice has been working with stakeholders to implement an Access to Justice Measurement Framework. The Framework was workshopped by justice stakeholders at the March 2018 meeting of the Dean’s Forum on Access to Justice and Dispute Resolution. The Framework assists justice stakeholders and data scientists, alike, in reflecting on successes and ongoing areas for project, program, and overall system improvement.
We have firsthand knowledge at CREATE Justice of how the data deficit in the justice system can impact those attempting to make changes. Therefore, we have spent considerable time working with our stakeholders to create a space that will allow for initiatives, intended to gather data, to create traction and become successful. CREATE Justice has been helping to address the data deficit problem by coordinating data and metrics projects and program evaluations for justice organizations with data experts.
CREATE Justice has partnered with data experts, such as members from the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research (CHASR, formerly referred to as the Social Science Research Lab or SSRL) and the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Justice Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, to collaborate on projects aimed at data collection. With this data, our partners and justice stakeholders can access specialized information that will allow them to confidently address the access to justice problem, by addressing the root problems, while also reflecting on what improvements could be made to make a project even more successful.
CREATE Justice is interested in connecting with organizations who are collecting justice-related data. If you collect justice-related data, or if you have an idea for a potential data and metrics project or justice program evaluation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a sample of our completed and current data related projects, please see below.
Sample of Coordination of Justice Program Evaluations
- Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan Listen Program Evaluation
- “Enough Already” Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Program Evaluation
Sample of Justice Data and Metrics Initiatives Undertaken
- Action Committee Metrics Working Group
- Architects of Justice (March 2017)
- Mandatory Family Law Early Dispute Resolution User-Focused Project (will find date and create web page in coming weeks)
- Perceptions of the Saskatchewan Justice System project (May 2019)
- Justice Sector Data Inventory (June 2019)
- Legal Needs Assessment for Saskatchewan (current project)
Tim Brown, Heather Heavin, Brea Lowenberger, Coming Soon… Legal Needs Assessment For Saskatchewan (Legal Skies Podcast, Oct. 30, 2020)
Heather Heavin & Brea Lowenberger, “Saskatchewan Justice Data and Metrics Collection and Needs Assessment – Revisiting Access to Justice Measurement Framework, inventory, and needs assessment topics”, Saskatchewan Access to Justice Network meeting (Saskatoon, November 18, 2019)
Heather Heavin, Michaela Keet, Brent Cotter, QC, and Brea Lowenberger, CREATE Justice Update: Data Informed Decision-Making and Saskatchewan’s Justice Sector Inventory Project (Canadian Bar Association Saskatchewan Branch BarNotes, Fall 2019)
Heather Heavin, “Highlights and Discussion About Next Steps on Justice Sector Data Inventory and Evaluation Project”, Saskatchewan Access to Justice Network meeting (Regina, June 26, 2019)
Brea Lowenberger & Heather Heavin, “Update and Invitation for Input on Saskatchewan Justice Needs Assessment, Saskatchewan Access to Justice Network meeting (Regina, June 26, 2019)
Brea Lowenberger, “Justice Metrics in Other Jurisdictions: How Saskatchewan is approaching the challenge of justice metrics”, Access to Justice Metrics Colloquium (Vancouver, BC, May 14, 2019)
Brea Lowenberger, “The Quest to Measure Access to Justice – Linking the Global, National and Local”, National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters (Montreal, QC, April 11, 2019)
Dr. Beth Bilson, QC, Heather Heavin, Brea Lowenberger, and Martin Phillipson, “Research and Action at CREATE Justice”, CBA Saskatchewan Mid-Winter Meeting (Saskatoon, SK, February 1, 2019)
Student research assistants help advance health and data topics at CREATE Justice (law.usask.ca/createjustice, November 13, 2018)