Vancouver, March 6, 2017 – The Law Society of BC is pleased to announce the release of the report, “A Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid in British Columbia,” prepared for the Benchers by the Law Society’s Legal Aid Task Force. On Friday, March 3, the Benchers voted to adopt the vision set out in the report.
The vision concludes that legal aid is a crucial part of the proper administration of justice in a free and democratic society. In a society based on the rule of law, every person must have equal access to the justice system. If people do not have equal access to the law, rights and freedoms may be jeopardized. Because there is no equality of resources within society, some people will require aid to enforce their rights or understand their responsibilities.
“The Law Society envisions a legal aid system that provides assistance to anyone, regardless of means, in identifying when a legal problem exists and what services are available to help them, and, in certain cases, provides legal advice and representation to people of modest financial means,” said Herman Van Ommen, QC, president of the Law Society. In presenting the report to the Benchers, the Honourable Lance Finch, QC, a member of the Legal Aid Task Force and former Chief Justice of British Columbia, said, “Our legal system only works properly if everyone has equal access to legal advice and representation.”
The vision also recognizes that Indigenous people are uniquely and historically disadvantaged in their access to the legal system and legal aid and that consultation with Indigenous communities is essential to develop culturally appropriate systems for the delivery of legal services and legal aid.
Click here to read the report.
The Law Society’s statutory object and duty is to uphold and protect the public interest in the administration of justice by, among other things, preserving and protecting the rights and freedoms of all persons.
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