June 24, 2010

The New Public Commission on Legal Aid Wants to Hear From You

The Law Society of B.C., the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association, and four other legal groups have launched the Public Commission on Legal Aid which will hold public hearings across British Columbia to gather recommendations on how to improve the province's flagging legal aid system.  A schedule for the hearings has not yet been released, but the Commission will focus on communities where the need for legal aid is highest
The Commission will be led by well-respected lawyer Len Doust, who will create a report on the hearings to be submitted to the provincial government.  The hearings are being held by legal groups to draw attention to the strained state of legal aid in British Columbia, with the hope that the provincial government will overhaul the system.

British Columbia is not the only province facing a legal aid crisis, and increasingly, lawyers are responding to the issue by refusing to take on legal aid work.  Last year I wrote about the legal aid boycott by some Ontario criminal lawyers, and the controversy surrounding their strike

Now the Canadian Press reports that, "The commission comes just weeks after lawyers in Kamloops ended a four-month legal aid boycott aimed at protesting the closure of several regional legal aid offices in B.C.  In Ontario, more than 1,000 defence lawyers refused to take legal aid cases for six months, before the province promised in January a 40 per cent increase in lawyer fees over seven years.  And in Manitoba, the government announced additional funding earlier this year to prevent the province's courts from grinding to a standstill with Legal Aid Manitoba facing a multimillion-dollar shortfall."

Once released, the hearing schedule will be posted on this site.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, great blog! Its got some really interesting Canadian legal info- I never knew legal aid was facing such a huge deficit. Anyways, I would be interested in writing a guest article if I could, about the recently passed pardons legislation and its impact on Canadians. Could you get back to me? My email is lesley@pardons.ca.


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