CBABC Supports Law Society of BC's Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid

  • March 07, 2017

The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBABC) welcomes a report released yesterday by the Law Society of BC (LSBC) entitled A Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid in British Columbia. The report concludes that legal aid is a crucial part of the proper administration of justice.

“Our colleagues at the Law Society of BC have offered a wise reminder that all British Columbians must have equal access to the justice system,” said Michael Welsh, CBABC president. “The challenge has been a lack of investment in legal aid to assist those who cannot afford legal services when they need them.”

The LSBC vision complements CBABC’s ongoing advocacy to return legal aid funding to healthy levels. CBABC recently released its platform paper, An Agenda for Justice, to stimulate public discussion ahead of the BC election on the need for increased investment in BC’s justice system.

Mr. Welsh continued, “BC’s recent budget was a step in the right direction, but it fell far short of the estimated $20 million needed for family law legal aid to help BC families in crisis. The continuing lack of funding leaves British Columbians to fend for themselves. In its 2014/15 annual report, BC Provincial Court stated forty percent of its family law cases involve someone without legal representation.”

The Law Society of BC report also recognizes that indigenous people continue to face disadvantages in accessing BC’s legal system and legal aid. CBABC’s Agenda for Justice also called for a commitment by government to address the over-representation of indigenous people in custody, prison and child protection.