Pro Bono Students Canada

PBSC’s National Director Joins U of T Working Group on Access to Justice


PBSC’s National Director, Nikki Gershbain, is serving as part of a distinguished team of professionals and academics at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, working to address the problem of access to justice for lower and middle-income Canadians. Other members of the working group include Prof. Michael Trebilcock and Judith McCormack, the executive director of Downtown Legal Services. Several other members of the University of Toronto faculty and staff are involved in this project. The initiative pairs this working group with an advisory group and several focus groups. Together, through research seminars, consultation with leading legal minds, and an international conference in February, 2011, the groups hope to influence public policy and increase access to justice for individuals caught in the vast middle of the income scale.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin speaks at the Access to Justice Colloquium

The focus groups will explore three high-needs areas of legal services—employment, family, and debtor/consumer law. Though best practices from around the world will be evaluated as discussed as possible components of a remedy, one objective is to create a pilot project at U of T for an innovative delivery model, enabling law students, faculty and volunteer practitioners to directly assist individuals in need. Through the National Director’s involvement, PBSC and its student volunteers will be on the frontlines of this exciting, groundbreaking effort to increase access to justice in Canada.

For more information on this initiative, see the June 2010 edition of Nexus, the U of T Faculty of Law’s alumni magazine.For more information about the international colloquium on access to middle income justice organized by the steering committee, click here or here (the latter includes a link to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlan’s speech at the colloquium).