Thursday, March 09, 2023

Chief Justice of Canada Talk at Harvard Law School

Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, recently gave a talk at Harvard Law School during which he outlined some of the Court's initiatives to reach out to the general public.

As explained in an article in Harvard Law Today, making the Court's activities more understandable is an important way to combat disinformation and distrust in the institutions of democracy:

"He named specific measures his court has taken to further this goal. In his view, access to justice is connected to access to information, so he initiated steps to make the Canadian court’s actions more transparent. One was to hold an annual, two-hour press conference; another was to make an easily readable, one-page synopsis available for every decision."

" 'One way to maintain peoples’ faith in the institution is to explain what we do,' Wagner said. 'So, we say in very accessible language what this decision is and what it means to you. This is not easy but we do it. We discovered that [the synopses] were being used by law professors, so it was a real success.' "

"A more creative method has been to hold annual court sessions away from the capital city of Ottawa, taking to cities, including Winnipeg and Quebec City, and opening the hearings to local audiences. 'For a week, the nine of us will meet the public, talk to law professors, and hear two cases. We answer questions so people will understand exactly what we do and why we do it.' This, he said, can counteract false information that might be spread on social media."

Justice Wagner was the guest of the Canadian Law Students Association at Harvard.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:56 pm


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