Canada's proposed reforms to its civil justice system is indicative of the pressure on lawyers worldwide to become attuned to client needs. The Canadian Bar Association, in an effort to make the law accessible, has come up with a report which mirrors Lord Woolf's thinking. Many ideas in the report are already in force here - written disclosure to clients on billing, emphasis on dispute resolution and a court charter to assist users.
The CBA's initiative to improve its system depends greatly on lawyers' acceptance that the adversarial system can no longer be used with abandon; that lawyers have a responsibility to look at other ways of obtaining justice for clients; and that judges too have a major part to play in the process by developing an enhanced role in managing litigation. It has taken a long time for this message to get across. Let us hope that in the week of the Commonwealth Law Conference, law-makers and lawyers use their time to learn from each other on the best ways forward.