The Story of the BC Family Justice Innovation Lab

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Almost two years ago, our Lab received a wonderful invitation to contribute a paper to a Special Edition of the Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice focusing on “access to justice & innovation”.  Jane Morley QC and I (with help from many others who kindly read and re-read the article) dove into the task of telling the “Story of the Lab”.  I am extremely pleased to let you know that the paper has now been published here

We are so honoured to be included with the other innovative and impressive articles in this edition.  All of the articles are definitely worth reading!

And special thanks to Nicole Aylwin (Winkler Institute) and Martha Simmons (Osgoode Hall Law School) who visioned and coordinated this important publication – well done!

The process of recording the Story of the Lab taught us many important lessons including:

1. The need to reflect on and chronicle, in real time, the steps, decisions, considerations, successes and failures along the way.

2. The power of “story”.  If we tell our stories we allow others to draw from them themes and insights that are unique to their own experience.

3. The inevitability of paradox (a key theme in the article).  We encountered many “tensions” along the way and we recognize that forward progress often involves asking wicked questions to chart a path through many seemingly contradictory values, purposes or needs.

Jane and I submitted the “almost final” version of the Story of the Lab in early 2017 so it is already somewhat out of date.  However, our experience will probably lead us to write a “part 2” in due course!

We hope that the Story provides encouragement to others who are committed to meaningful change in their own justice (or other) systems.

We would love your comments and suggestions.

Thank you!


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