Make Courts
Work Better


3.1 Ensure access to courts

Courts must be adequately staffed and located where people live to make sure people can get access to a judge when needed, especially when fundamental and constitutional rights are at stake

3.2 Promote Multi Service Centres

Courthouses should offer mediation, dispute resolution, and informal or non-legal services to make it easy for people to access cheaper and simpler options at any stage of the process

3.3 Help people who are representing themselves

Courts should offer services, including early resolution and information services, for people who are navigating the legal system alone

3.4 Manage cases effectively

Timelines, simplified procedures, shared experts, and limited number of witness should be agreed to, or insisted on by judges, to make better use of court time and encourage early settlement

3.5 Be accessible and user-focused

Courts and procedures need to be modernized to reflect people’s needs, including better use of technology where it can make the process faster or easier without ignoring the needs of vulnerable people

3.6 Protect judicial independence

Ensure system improvements do not interfere with a judge’s ability to make independent, ethical decisions to protect people’s rights

Progress in 2018

While many access to justice efforts focus on preventative approaches or alternatives to court processes, courthouses remain critical in the continuum of legal services. Courts are where many people turn first for legal information or resolution, speaking with court staff, judges and lawyers. Direct and ancillary services that help people during periods of crisis are often based at or near courthouses. Continuing to improve court-based legal services is critical to improving access to justice.

Many of the existing resources make justice more accessible for court users. Legal information centres, pro bono services, and duty counsel programs help people understand legal processes and provide immediate assistance. Court staff provide front line services to litigants and judges manage cases in their courtrooms. All of these justice sector professionals are involved in ongoing evolution of legal services to improve access to justice. In addition to constant evolution in the court system, 2018 saw specific innovations in court-based services to address access to justice challenges. 

Click here to learn about 2018 activities to advance Goal 3: Make Courts Work Better

Read the whole report here: Working Toward Accessible Justice: Tracking Progress on the JDGs in 2018

Read the 2017 Report here: Tracking Progress on Canada's JDGs in 2017

Organizations Advancing this Goal

Organization’s English Website


Organization’s French Website


Federal Court of Appeal


Cour d’appel fédérale

Justice Canada


Ministère de la Justice


Alberta Courts




Law Services Society



Provincial Court



Ministry of the Attorney General




Legal Help Centre of Winnipeg, Inc.



Manitoba Courts


Les Tribunaux Du Manitoba

Ministry of Justice


Justice et Sécurité publique


NFLD Courts



Department of Justice (Court Services)


Services Judiciaires du Ministère de la Justice


Nova Scotia Courts



Executive Office of the Nova Scotia Judiciary



Legal Info Society of NS




NWT Courts




Court of Appeal of Ontario


Cour d’appel de l’Ontario

Ministry of the Attorney General


Ministère Du Procureur Général


University of Sherbrooke


Université de Sherbrooke

Quebec Court of Appeal


Cour d’appel de Québec


Yukon Courts


Tribunaux du Yukon

Council of Yukon First Nations



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