A High Needs Community is determined by specific criteria related to access to legal services and justice in the area, including:
- High unmet demand for local legal aid services.
- Relatively small total population (<10,000).
- A lawyer to population ratio lower than 1 lawyer per 1,000 population*.
*LSBC states the provincial average of 1 lawyer per 450 people.
However, REAL BC recognizes that access to justice isn't solely defined by statistics. Other factors to consider include:
- Whether local lawyers meet the service demand.
- The relevance of legal services provided.
- Availability of local lawyers.
- Local lawyers practicing in the community.
- Access to judicial resources.
- Providing services to nearby communities without lawyers, which can increase demand.
Please note that these criteria are for reference; not all must be met for a community to be deemed "high needs."