Legal Aid Resources

Legal aid, law reform and access to justice are very much on the public mind these days. To assist the public and media in researching these important issues, the Legal Aid Committee of the British Columbia Branch of The Canadian Bar Association (CBABC) has collected the following information, research and other resources.

UPDATE:

In February 2017, the CBABC published An Agenda for Justice that includes an entire section on Effective Access to Justice.

We invite you to read the document and the background reading that supports the CBABC's position on increased legal aid funding.

Need Legal Aid

There are certain issues that can be problematic without legal advice from a lawyer and you may avoid future difficulties if you obtain initial advice from a lawyer. There are a number of low cost and free legal services available to the public in British Columbia.

Case Law

There are a number of cases that consider when a judge can order that the government pay for a lawyer. As a general rule, there is no right to state funded counsel, but in particular circumstances, supported by evidence, orders for state funded counsel can be made. A few of the cases that consider these circumstances are described in this section.

History of Legal Aid

This section attempts to put the current situation of legal aid in British Columbia in a historical context.

Reports, Research and Papers

Research into legal aid and various reports that have been key to British Columbia are included in this section.

Why Legal Aid Matters

The Public Commission on Legal Aid’s report Foundation for Change made nine recommendations, one of which is that legal aid should be recognized as an essential public service. The Commissioner also asserts a strong link between Legal Aid and other existing essential services.