Courts Disability Accessibility Education Project
Welcome to Canada's most comprehensive collection of legal education curriculum content on strategies to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy full access to courts and court proceedings.
Do you provide legal education to lawyers, law students, judges, or justices of the peace? If so, it is important for your educational programs to include a component on how to ensure that people with disabilities can fully participate in courts and court proceedings, whether as a party, witness, judge, juror, lawyer, court official, or spectator.
This website provides you with free, ready-to-use materials to plug into any course, seminar, continuing legal education program, or other legal educational event. You don’t have to offer a special course or seminar on this topic. It can easily be mainstreamed into any law school course, or continuing legal education program. As well, if you are designing a course, seminar, speech or presentation that could touch on the topic of the accessibility of courts and court proceedings for persons with disabilities, this website is for you.
This site is a repository of information, research and educational materials on the topic of court accessibility for people with disabilities. The site’s goal is to provide users with material you can use to design your own courses, course components, seminars, speeches or presentations on the topic of court accessibility, and to provide a forum where future research on the topic can be shared.
Visitors to this site are free to download and use whatever material you find useful for your purposes. All copyrights remain with the original authors or organizations responsible for producing the material on this site.
The educational materials posted on this site are derived from a wide array of sources: the views expressed in these materials are those of their creators, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Courts Disability Accessibility Education Project.
These materials can also be useful for others who provide education on the law. This includes high school law courses, as well as pre-law undergraduate programs in colleges and universities.
Please share your experience using these materials. Also, users are invited to submit their own materials for consideration for inclusion on this site. If you have material you’d like to share, or any feedback about these materials or this topic, please complete our submission form.
In 2005, Chief Justice Roy McMurtry appointed Ontario’s first “Courts' Disabilities Committee,” a joint committee of the judiciary, the legal profession, and the Ontario Government, under the leadership of chair, Justice Karen Weiler (“the Weiler Committee”). It developed a practical action plan to remove barriers that persons with disabilities face when seeking to participate in Ontario’s Courts.
In 2006, the Weiler Committee produced its final report, entitled "Making Ontario's Courts Fully Accessible to Persons with Disabilities,” the Weiler Report. You can read that ground-breaking report and its recommendations by clicking here: English | French
This website is a direct response to that Report. Among that Report’s key recommendations was its proposal that:
“Judges, lawyers and court services officials be provided with education on providing disability accessibility and accommodation.”
As a result of the Weiler Report, in 2007 a permanent committee of the judiciary, legal profession and Ontario Government was established, the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee, to oversee the implementation of the Weiler Report. It is co-chaired by Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Susan Lang and Assistant Deputy Attorney General of Ontario for Court Services, Ann Merritt.
In 2009, the Legal Education Sub-Committee of the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee (chaired by Justice Gloria Epstein and Mr. David Lepofsky) was awarded a generous grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario, to bring together legal education curriculum on the topic of disability accessibility and the courts. We are indebted to the Law Foundation for its generosity and vision in funding this project, and to the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) for serving as the grant’s administrative trustee.
The project directors were Prof. Randal Graham and Prof. Adam Parachin of the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario. They completed their work in 2010. This website presents the results of their efforts, and sets out the existing legal teaching materials on this subject that they and their project team could find.
We also extend our thanks to the Ontario Bar Association for its generosity in hosting and maintaining this site.