International research project seeks to scale access to community-based justice

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ), located at Osgoode Hall Law School, is joining forces with researchers in Kenya, Sierra Leone and South Africa to build a business case for scaling community-based justice services.

Professor Trevor Farrow is the principal investigator on the project

Funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), with support from Open Society Foundations (OSF), the newly launched Community-Based Justice Research (CBJR) Project is a three-year initiative to assess the costs, benefits and opportunities for increasing access to community-based justice services.

Community-based justice services fill gaps in the delivery of legal services in many otherwise underserved areas; they facilitate early legal problem resolution and empower individuals to engage in society to protect their legal rights. They are sometimes the only source of legal support for women, marginalized and vulnerable groups and persons living in rural and remote locations. Yet globally, there is a lack of empirical evidence to illustrate their value as tools for ensuring access to justice or their potential for wider application.

Incorporating key learnings from the CFCJ’s own seven-year (2011-18) national research project on the “Cost of Justice in Canada,” the Community-Based Justice Research Project will explore unanswered questions around scope, quality, cost and impact of different community-oriented legal service delivery mechanisms and help to respond to the lack of evidence to support increasing access to community justice programs. In doing so, this project is also responding to the United Nations’ global call-to-action to ensure equal access to justice for all as stated in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.3.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with this talented group of researchers and community justice organizations on the shared international goal of studying and ultimately improving access to justice,” said Principal Investigator Trevor Farrow.

Learn more about the Community-Based Justice Research project at: and

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) is a national non-profit organization based at Osgoode Hall Law School that aims to advance civil justice reform through research and advocacy. The CFCJ strives to make the civil justice system more accessible, effective, and sustainable through projects and initiatives that are people-centered.