68 episodes

Scholar and activist Julie Macfarlane talks with visionaries, social justice warriors, and legal system “disrupters” about their motivations and how their experiences have changed them – for better or for worse.

Jumping Off the Ivory Tower with Prof JulieMa‪c‬ National Self-Represented Litigants Project

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 13 Ratings

Scholar and activist Julie Macfarlane talks with visionaries, social justice warriors, and legal system “disrupters” about their motivations and how their experiences have changed them – for better or for worse.

    Black Clients Matter

    Black Clients Matter

    Working with a lawyer for the first time is an intimidating experience, especially because for most of us it is a final resort in a stressful conflict. Some of these “first time” experiences are better than others, of course, but a disappointing number of people report that they felt not-well-listened-to and that their lawyer was working from a well-used “playbook” that they applied to all clients, regardless of their situation. This disconnect is aggravated when the lawyer and the client come from very different backgrounds and cultures. In this episode, Nikki McAlister speaks frankly to Julie about what it was like for her as a Black female first-time family client to work with a white male family lawyer whose cultural context was far closer to her ex’s than to her own, and who appeared to assume that Nikki’s family cultural norms and traditions were the same as his own. Nikki ultimately experienced two very different types of lawyer services, and explains what it can be like to work with a lawyer who doesn’t understand your point of view and pushes on regardless, versus one who makes the time to understand. Hint to all lawyers: be curious, and listen – it’s not all about the technicalities. Nikki McAlister works for the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto as a Community Engagement Co-ordinator.

    In Other News: Guest Other News Correspondent Katie Pfaff shares the following stories: Global Citizen has announced its Recovery Plan for the World that aims to mobilize $250 million to support organizations advocating for global justice and human rights; and Ontario has introduced the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021 to modernize the legal system in response to COVID-19 – the proposed legislation seeks to eliminate barriers in Ontario’s courts and tribunals, as well as in the estates law, family law, and child protection sectors, and to promote access to justice especially for rural, northern, Indigenous, and Francophone communities.

    For related links and more on this episode visit our website: https://representingyourselfcanada.com/black-clients-matter/

    Jumping Off the Ivory Tower is produced and hosted by Julie Macfarlane and Dayna Cornwall; production and editing by Brauntë Petric; Other News produced and hosted by Katie Pfaff; promotion by Moya McAlister and the NSRLP team.

    • 31 min
    The Whistleblowers: Challenging Police Culture

    The Whistleblowers: Challenging Police Culture

    Today’s podcast focuses on the remarkable campaigns of two women police officers (one of whom has now left the force) who have told the police departments in Waterloo and Windsor, Ontario, “you need to be accountable to your employees and to the public for your mistakes.”

    Kelly Donovan spoke up about what she saw as abuse of power in internal investigations at the Waterloo Police. She became the subject of an investigation herself, and left the force to found her organization Fit4Duty, which offers independent police investigators and campaigns for police accountability. The Police Board has taken action against her to try to prevent her from speaking up about her experience. Kelly has represented herself at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Ontario Superior Court, and the Ontario Court of Appeal (where she won). Waterloo Police Services have to-date spent over $400,000 on legal fees to fight Kelly. Kelly was the recipient of the 2019 Ontario Civil Liberties Association Award.

    Kelly has written two books about her experience: Systemic Misfeasance in Ontario Policing and the Coordinated Suppression of Whistleblowers and Police Line: Do Not Cross.

    Christine Bissonnette is bringing a claim for systemic gender discrimination against the Windsor Police Services Board and representing herself at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

    Christine says she has been subject to numerous instances of discrimination against her as a female police officer, including access to positions that she is qualified to hold and promotions. Christine first tried mediation to resolve her complaints and finally filed a claim at the Tribunal in 2010. Her case is ongoing.

    In other news: Guest Other News Correspondent Katie Pfaff shares the following stories: CBC has recently featured Shannon Salter, chair of BC’s online Civil Resolution Tribunal, who shares that technology is only one part of the solution for ensuring access to justice during COVID-19; UNICEF has published their report on the role of COVID-19’s impact on children’s access to justice; and NSRLP is looking for current or past SRLs across Canada for a public input project with the Social Security Tribunal of Canada – if you are interested in participating email representingyourself@gmail.com.

    For related links and more on this episode visit our website: https://representingyourselfcanada.com/the-whistleblowers-challenging-police-culture/

    Jumping Off the Ivory Tower is produced and hosted by Julie Macfarlane and Dayna Cornwall; production and editing by Brauntë Petric; Other News produced and hosted by Katie Pfaff; promotion by Moya McAlister and the NSRLP team.

    • 31 min
    Justice as a Service

    Justice as a Service

    NSRLP has begun working with several administrative tribunals to assist them in adapting their systems and skills to the volume of self-represented litigants they see each year.

    Today’s podcast features leaders at two federal Tribunals who are committed to improving meaningful access for self-reps, who make up 35-70% of litigants appearing at their tribunals. Suzanne Gilbert is Deputy Chairperson of the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Suzanne was previously a Chair at the Ontario Social Justice Tribunal, working with the Child and Family Services Review Board and Custody Review Board. Paul Aterman is the Chair of the Social Security Tribunal, which hears appeals from decisions on the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan, and the Old Age Security Act. Paul is a lawyer with extensive administrative justice experience in human rights, immigration and refugee matters and workers' compensation. He is also a member of the Measurement Working Group of Access to Justice BC, a network of justice sector organizations and individuals dedicated to improving access to justice.

    In other news: Guest Other News Correspondent Ali Tejani brings us the following stories: BC’s Access to Justice Week took place January 24th to 30th, with productive conversations, interesting guest lectures, and a statement by BC’s Attorney General, David Eby, who was a guest on this podcast in 2019; Nova Scotia has launched a Task Force to improve A2J after COVID-19 – they will explore more ways to use technology to improve access to justice, increase efficiencies, and create better outcomes; former SCC Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin has written another interesting piece, “Access to Justice: Fragility and resilience: Lessons of 2020 and 2021 potential”; and finally, NSRLP is looking for looking for current or former SRLs across Canada for a public input project with the Social Security Tribunal of Canada – participants will be eligible to receive a gift card for their time. If interested, please email representingyourself@gmail.com.

    For related links and more on this episode visit our website: https://representingyourselfcanada.com/justice-as-a-service/

    Jumping Off the Ivory Tower is produced and hosted by Julie Macfarlane and Dayna Cornwall; production and editing by Brauntë Petric; Other News produced and hosted by Ali Tejani, with assistance from Katie Pfaff; promotion by Moya McAlister and the NSRLP team.

    • 35 min
    It Couldn't Happen to Me... Again?

    It Couldn't Happen to Me... Again?

    Welcome to season 6! Our guest today is Jennifer Muller, who was the subject of our very first (and very popular) podcast episode, “It Couldn’t Happen to Me,” in September 2017, when she described running out of funds and being forced to represent herself in a custody trial in 2009. (https://representingyourselfcanada.com/it-couldnt-happen-to-me/)

    In conversation with Julie, Jennifer describes her experience of returning to court, ten years after she first represented herself. Jennifer agonized about returning, but eventually felt she had no choice but to deal with many unresolved co-parenting issues as her daughter grew up. Unable to face the idea of representing herself this time – as she tells Julie, she now knows what this entails – Jennifer took out a bank loan and hired legal counsel. At the time of this recording, Jennifer had spent $100,000. We ask: how is this a functional family justice system?

    Jennifer is a Schools Counsellor with the North Vancouver school district. She is an active advocate for access to justice. She is a member of the NSRLP Advisory Board, and the Executive Group of the Access to Justice BC initiative.

    In Other News: This episode features the welcome return of Ali Tejani as guest news correspondent! A former NSRLP research assistant, Ali is now with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney-General. There continue to be significant changes to courts across the country, with courts slowly adjusting to creating a more accessible process, for example by conducting virtual hearings, and being more accommodating to litigants; Ali provides some interesting examples and articles on the topic. In addition, Ali recaps some of NSRLP’s recent exciting news, including winning the prestigious Fodden Award!

    For related links and more on this episode visit our website: https://representingyourselfcanada.com/it-couldnt-happen-to-me-again/

    Jumping Off the Ivory Tower is produced and hosted by Julie Macfarlane and Dayna Cornwall; production and editing by Brauntë Petric; Other News produced and hosted by Ali Tejani, with assistance from Katie Pfaff; promotion by Moya McAlister and the NSRLP team.

    • 38 min
    Janice's Story - and a request

    Janice's Story - and a request

    Janice's self-represented litigant story is one in thousands that we've heard. Please consider donating to NSRLP this holiday season, and help us reach our end-of-year goal of $5000, so that we can continue to put out research and resources to help self-reps, and advocate for practical, meaningful access to justice in the legal system. Visit representingyourselfcanada.com/donate. And thank you for your support - in whatever form it comes. We'll see you in January with new episodes. Have a happy, and safe, holiday!

    Jumping Off the Ivory Tower is produced and hosted by Julie Macfarlane and Dayna Cornwall; production and editing by Brauntë Petric; promotion by Moya McAlister and the NSRLP team.

    • 5 min
    Going Public *Special Episode*

    Going Public *Special Episode*

    JOIT is still on hiatus (look for season 6 to begin in early 2021!), but we’re releasing this special episode to explore Julie’s incredible new book, Going Public: A Survivor’s Journey from Grief to Action, which documents her experiences of sexual violence as a young woman, and her search for justice in the legal system. In the episode, Julie reads some powerful excerpts, and then Julie, Dayna, and Moya McAlister (the third member our NSRLP leadership team – you’ll remember her from our final episode of season 5, “Living Black Lives”) discuss some of the themes and thoughts behind Julie’s writing. We strongly encourage everyone to read Going Public, and to give some thought to the ways our society and legal systems handle sexual violence.

    Julie’s book is available for purchase through her Canadian publisher, Between the Lines, if you reside in either Canada or the US:

    https://btlbooks.com/book/going-public

    For more purchasing info, and a special offer for book clubs, see our website: https://representingyourselfcanada.com/going-public-special-episode/

    Jumping Off the Ivory Tower is produced and hosted by Julie Macfarlane and Dayna Cornwall; production and editing by Brauntë Petric; promotion by Moya McAlister and the NSRLP team.

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

Noel Semple ,

Essential listening...

... for anyone interested in access to justice. The best guests, the most insightful questions, the wittiest banter and wisecracks!

kjessa786 ,

Amazing

Thoughtful, insightful, interesting and real! If you’ve discovered this podcast by chance take a moment and pick any episode and have a listen. Prof Julie Mac does an incredible job bringing out real truths from her guests as she tackles some really difficult and engaging subjects!

Ashaines ,

Excellent Podcast

I thoroughly enjoying listening to this podcast. Very well produced. An excellent resource that law students, legal professionals, and self-represented litigants can find helpful and informative.

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