For the average person, Canada's legal system can be intimidating, complex and expensive. But Ryerson University's Legal Innovation Zone is sponsoring efforts to change that through Ontario's Access To Justice Challenge. With a shortlist of the top six entrants expected to be revealed next week, excitement is building and participants are raring and ready to advance their innovations for improving access to justice for all Ontarians.
What Is Access To Justice?
Access to justice means removing barriers and helping individuals benefit from legal services. It means a justice system that's faster, simpler and more affordable. It can take the form of such improvements as:
- Physical accessibility to courthouses
- Simplified legal procedures
- Public access to legal information
- Plain language legislation
- Legal aid and financial support
- Language translation services
- Improved access to lawyers
How The A2J Challenge Aims To Help
The A2J Challenge gives business startups the chance to advance their innovations, products, technologies and solutions for boosting access to justice in Ontario. Six shortlisted participants will be chosen to compete for seed money and one of three spots in Ryerson University's Legal Innovation Zone.
Based on the same model as Ryerson's DMZ - the top business innovation incubator in North America and fifth overall in the world - the Legal Innovation Zone is an entrepreneurial workspace designed to support startups with specialized programming, mentors and technology experts.
The six A2J Challenge shortlisters will gain entrance to the Legal Innovation Zone for a four-month residency starting in August. They'll receive customized programming, coaching, expert collaboration and access to hub resources. In November, the six will participate in a "Demo Day" event. Three winners will be chosen and awarded a further four months in the Zone, along with $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 in seed money to fuel their ventures.
It will be exciting to see what fresh, new ideas the A2J venturists have in mind for removing the barriers that currently prevent many from accessing the legal system. Gluckstein Injury Lawyers are firm advocates of justice and accessibility, and will continue to follow with interests any new developments in the A2J Challenge.
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