Nova Scotia is remote and it feels like it. I thought I would take the train to Halifax and back from Montreal. Each trip would take a day and a night: it was not realistic.

Interestingly, Halifax Station is vast and apparently remains ready to function as it once did when the port was the major point of entry to vast numbers of immigrants and other travellers. The facilities for processing New Canadians are now a museum: the town has the not unattractive feel of having passed its peak. It retains a real charm; the people are friendly; and the coastline spectacular. It is good tourist destination but how does it fare if you visit to explore its legal aid?

It is nigh on forty years since I last worked in a law centre. So, if a lawyer from the glory days of the early seventies goes back to a centre generally acknowledged to be one of the best of the current crop, how much is recognisable; how much has changed; and what are the issues of wider relevance. Those were the questions to be asked in a recent visit to Avon and Bristol Law Centre.

  1. Lord Justice Briggs, a Court of Appeal judge in England and Wales, has recently published an interim report on the Structure of the Civil Courts. This is available at:

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ccsr-interim-report-dec-15-final1.pdf.

It might be regarded as an internal domestic matter but for the fact that the judge’s main theme is the possibilities generally for introducing IT into the working of the courts and, specifically, for creating an online small claims court. This assessment is based on one written for the Legal Education Foundation and available in full at: