Dr. Noel Semple

We are delighted to announce that Visiting Scholar in Residence for 2012/2013, Dr. Noel Semple, J.D., Ph.D. is continuing his affiliation as a Visiting Scholar with the CLP in 2013/2014.  Noel  made a wonderful contribution to the activities, programs and teachings at the Faculty of Law, and in his research in his areas of interest last year.  We are fortunate to have him continuing his collaboration with us. 

Dr. Semple has pursued important research on access to justice under a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.  His empirical study of the consumer welfare impacts of legal services regulation will help to advance the pressing issue of access to justice in Ontario. New information about the experiences and preferences of clients, and new insights into the impact of regulation on the ability of legal services providers to satisfy consumer needs, will augment scholarship on these issues.

Noel’s research article considers the mounting wave of unrepresented litigants, and the many unmet legal needs which Canadians experience, which demand innovative responses that go beyond the traditional call for more state-funded legal aid. The argument of his paper is that excessive regulation of legal services is partially responsible for Canada’s access to justice crisis. Regulation of legal services serves important public interest goals. However, he argues that it also reduces competition and innovation, and increases price. It therefore impedes access to justice and drives up the number of unrepresented litigants. Some market entry and market conduct regulations appear to be stricter than they need to be to accomplish their legitimate goals, and others may not even have any legitimate goals. Policy-makers seeking to increase access to justice without spending public money should consider reforming these elements of the regulatory regime. For the full article see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2101831 .

Noel’s recent research and writings also include:

Depending on the Kindness of Strangers: Access to Civil Justice in Canada (Correspondent’s Report)

January 10, 2014 | Academic Publications

Forthcoming, Legal Ethics, Vol. 16, No. 2.

‘Abysmal’ was the word used to describe the accessibility of Canadian civil justice in a recent major report.1 Access to justice is simultaneously a social problem, a professional obliga-tion for the legal profession, and a market opportunity for law firms. Are there any signs of significant progress on any of these fronts? This short Correspondent’s report will review recent Canadian efforts to connect people of modest means with the expert legal services they urgently need.

Online:  http://ssrn.com/abstract=2385989


Access to Justice: Is Legal Services Regulation Blocking the Path?

January 1, 2014 | Academic Publications

Forthcoming, International Journal  of the Legal Profession.

Is legal services regulation exacerbating North America’s access to justice crisis? Does regulatory preservation of a unified legal profession, and insulation of that profession from non-lawyer influence, make it more difficult for Americans and Canadians to meet their legal needs? This article begins by showing that high prices and lack of innovation have placed expert legal services beyond the reach of many people in English-speaking North America. It then develops a theory of how these problems might be compounded by two distinctive features of legal services regulation in this region: unification of the legal profession, and insulation of law firms from non-lawyer investment and leadership. Comparisons are drawn with England & Wales and Australia, jurisdictions which have significantly liberalized their legal services regulatory regimes. The article concludes that, although regulatory liberalization is not a magic bullet for the accessibility of justice, there is strong evidence of a link between regulation and access. North American lawyer regulators need to understand and work to reduce the effects of their policies on the accessibility of justice.

Online: SSRN, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2303987