Access to Justice in Rural and Remote Communities
"In 2011, the remote provision of legal services via videoconferencing technology is nothing new or revolutionary. But it is surely underused as a business tool. With the advent and increasing adoption of e-discoveries, e-mediations and even e-trials in many Canadian jurisdictions, little seems to stand in the way of tech-savvy lawyers marketing their services in faraway under-served places, and thus building highly profitable online practices. Such practices must overcome small regulatory obstacles relating to proper client identification and document execution, but the offsetting advantages are significant; they avoid the high overhead costs associated with conventional bricks-and-mortar businesses, and they are environment-friendly because of their mostly paperless operation."
"The proliferation of affordable online legal services will not solve the problem of limited access to legal services in rural and remote communities. It is a complex problem and, like most complex problems, it requires complex solutions. The most effective solution will always involve a greater number of lawyers and other legal service providers bringing their services physically closer to under-served markets, since consumers still prefer the warmth and certainty of in-person communications. But bridging geographical gaps will forever be a struggle across these 'few acres of snow', and the potential for online legal services to increase the accessibility of affordable legal services in all regions of Canada seems largely untapped."
Labels: access to justice