Friday, November 13, 2015

An Example of How Poverty Deprives Litigants of Access to Justice

   Some years ago I made the following submission in a factum in support of an order to extend the time to allow a poor litigant to bring an application for judicial review.  I came across it recently and thought it worthy of sharing. Enjoy !

   "If a man or woman is hungry and a loaf of bread is a dollar on March 11th, 2009 and he or she does not have a dollar on that day to buy it - he or she will remain unable to buy that bread until such time as he or she has the funds to buy that bread.  It does not follow that they do not want and need the bread to satisfy their hunger.  It simply means that unless a third party removes the impediment which obstructs their access to that bread or they steal it - they will not be able to enjoy that bread.

   Similarly, if the cost associated with bringing a judicial review application is $10,000 on March 11th, 2009 and one does not have the means to pay those funds on that day - one will be unable to bring that judicial review application with the assistance of counsel until such time as one has the funds to pay for the service.  The person who craves the bread and can not buy it is hungry for food and nourishment.  The person who craves the assistance of counsel is hungry for justice.  The fact that she can not afford it does not follow that she does not crave it or that she had no intent to proceed with her matter.  The inability to bring the right to fruition is not caused by the individual but it is caused by the unfortunate circumstances in which they find themselves".

   Regrettably the learned judge failed to see my point and the poor litigant's motion was dismissed.

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