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Baroque Architecture

Access to Justice

How does the law impact current global events?

Access to Justice is a contest open to all attendees that is held annually alongside the YLL national conference. Each year, a prompt related to a current, prominent sociopolitical event is released. Participants have the opportunity to submit an interpretive entry of the prompt in any form of expression that they wish, whether it be an art piece, a research article, etc. We encourage entries to be investigative and to consider the impact of the law in relation to the prompt. Entries will then be judged by a panel of lawyers from Calgary Family Law Associates for a chance to win cash prizes. 

This year, ATJ will be held synchronously across all branches of YLL.

The ATJ prompt for 2023 is:

"How does Canadian politics and government impact an individual’s ability to access justice?"

More details for how to participate in the contest are below!

Contest Details

How does Canadian politics and government impact an individual’s ability to access justice?

You can find the contest guidelines here, which are available as a PDF or Word document:

This document contains more details regarding the prompt, contest guidelines such as rules regarding certain formats of submissions (word count, page limit, etc.) and the submission form that must be completed with your submission. 

To participate in the contest:

  1. Please familiarize yourself with contest guidelines before completing your submission.

  2. Once you are ready, please submit your entry to Calgary Family Law Associates, c/o Rani Wong, at #450, 340 12 Avenue SW., Calgary, AB T2R 1L5 or through email: (submission details available in contest guideline document).

  3. The Entry Submission Form must accompany all entries and students’ names should not appear on the work itself, only on the Entry Submission Form.

  4. All submissions must be received on or before 4:00 PM MDT/6:00 PM EST on April 30th, 2023.

For any questions or concerns, please contact us through email:

Divine Healing

Access to Justice


"How does Canadian politics and government impact an individual’s ability to access justice?"

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to everyone who participated!


1ST PLACE ($300)

Obstructions to an Individual's Ability to Access Justice

- Essay entry by Sameet Fatima & Lynn Huynh

Open Book
Law court

2nd Place ($150)

Examining Immigrants Vulnerability

- Essay entry by Amitis Ghahremani


Women with a Sword

- Visual Entry by Pearl Zhong

3rd Place ($50)


Wood Curving

ATJ 2022: Restorative Justice and Access to Justice

One definition of Restorative Justice defines it as providing an opportunity for those directly affected by a crime -- a victim, offender, and community - to identify and address their needs in the aftermath of a crime and seek a resolution that promotes restoration, reparation, and reintegration and prevents future harm.

In Canada, the federal Parliament is responsible for the enactment of criminal law, while the provinces and territories are responsible for the administration of justice. This means that federal, provincial, and territorial governments work closely together on matters relating to criminal justice, including restorative justice. In December 2018, Federal Provincial Territorial  Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety approved a minimum target of a 5%  increase in restorative justice referrals and processes for victims and  


The Criminal Code and the Youth Criminal Justice Act enable restorative justice processes to occur within the criminal justice system. Internationally, the Department of Justice, in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, coordinated the adoption of key resolutions on restorative justice at the United Nations  Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in 1999, 2002, 2016, and 2018. 

The Department of Justice lists 448 restorative justice programs across Canada. The Calgary  Indigenous Court, Tsuu T’ina First Nation Court in Alberta, Cree Court in Saskatchewan, First  Nations/Indigenous Courts in British Columbia, and Gladue/Indigenous Courts in Ontario are examples of restorative justice in practice. 

Competition entries can focus on broad restorative justice principles and/or a specific restorative justice program or court. 


Access to Justice Competition 2021 Winners

First Place ($300 CAD): J G Makade - Calgary  

Second Place ($150 CAD): M. Maramat (Calgary) and S. Sivasathiyanathan (Ottawa)

Third Place ($50 CAD): P. Zare (Toronto), A. Grover (Edmonton), A. Ng (Richmond), and A. Hossain (Calgary)

Kneeling Protestors

ATJ 2021: Systemic Racism and Access to Justice

Canada’s access to civil justice has been ranked ninth out of 12 European and North American countries. We still have a long way to go in many aspects. Canada’s Department of Justice released a report in 2019 that shares the four biggest problems regarding access to justice: underreporting due to scared victims, trial delays, bad treatment within the system, and the lack of affordable and timely support/resources. 


According to a 2019 study done by the Canada Race Relations Foundation, Indigenous Peoples and Black people are the most common targets of discrimination and unfair treatment in Canada, followed by Muslims and people from the Middle East. 


This discrimination may mean that people have less access to some services, such as healthcare, jobs, and justice. 

This year, Youth Leaders In Law wants your submissions for the following prompt: How does systemic racism impact an individual’s ability to access justice?


Access to Justice Competition 2021 Winners

First Place ($300 CAD): A. Cheung and E. Gossen of John Knox Secondary, British Columbia

Second Place ($150 CAD): R. Haji-Mahmoodzadeh of Centennial Secondary, British Columbia AND M. Bailey of Crescent Heights High School, Alberta

Third Place ($50 CAD): D. Mehta of University of Toronto Schools, Ontario AND G. Licardo of Old Scona Academic, Alberta

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