Canadian Bar Association Report on Legal Aid
The report, entitled Moving Forward on Legal Aid: Research of Needs and Innovative Approaches, looks at unmet legal needs and the marginalization that can result when people with low incomes have no solutions to their legal problems.
From the Executive Summary of the report:
"The CBA has consistently maintained that governments must accept the primary responsibility to ensure equal access to justice through the provision of legal aid services. The CBA has also promoted the legal profession’s responsibility to contribute to access to justice by assisting in the delivery of government-funded legal aid and by providing pro bono services."
"CBA members have adopted numerous resolutions on legal aid improvements, supported lobbying campaigns across Canada, and contributed to a national public relations campaign to raise public awareness about the inadequacies of the Canadian legal aid system. The CBA has been the only consistent advocate for legal aid reform at the national level, although there are important allies in the anti-poverty and social justice movements. "
"The CBA has a five-point platform on legal aid reform:
"Dr. Buckley notes that despite all its efforts to improve legal aid funding and services, the CBA’s advocacy efforts to date have not been successful. The paper suggests several possible approaches for the CBA to refresh its commitment to improved civil and criminal legal aid services in Canada. Justice demands it."
- Legal aid should be recognized as an essential public service, like health care.
- Public funding should be confirmed as necessary to ensure access to justice for low-income people.
- Public funding for legal aid must be increased.
- National standards for criminal and civil legal aid coverage and eligibility criteria are required.
- The federal government should revitalize its commitment to legal aid."