The Law Society is committed to advancing legal aid in BC.

In March 2017, the Law Society released 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. Benchers voted unanimously 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.

Read the report: A Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid

The Legal Aid Advisory Committee monitors and advises the Benchers on key matters relating to the state of legal aid in British Columbia and advances the Law Society’s Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid. Its mandate and terms of reference are available here.

For the lastest updates on our efforts to advance legal aid, follow the Twitter handle @AdvanceLegalAid and Facebook page Advancing Legal Aid for BC.

What is legal aid?

Legal aid offers a range of free legal services to low income individuals and families. It is provided by the Legal Services Society and funded by the provincial government and organizations such as the Law Foundation of BC and Notary Foundation of BC. If you wish to apply for legal aid, contact the Legal Services Society.

Statement regarding possible intervention

The Law Society is considering seeking leave to intervene in Single Mothers' Alliance of BC Society, Nicolina Bell (also known as Nicole Bell), and A.B. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia and Legal Services Society. Claims have been advanced that the framework for the provincial legal aid scheme, administered by the Defendants, contravenes a number of Charter rights of the Plaintiffs, including ss. 7 and 15. There are a number of significant issues raised in the action that involve the public interest in the administration of justice, and the Law Society will review the statements of defence once the pleadings have closed so that it will be in the best position to make a determination as to whether to seek leave to intervene in the public interest. - June 27, 2017

Timeline

August 2017

The Law Society began a media and government relations campaign to increase public awareness of the importance of legal aid. Members of the Legal Aid Advisory Committee are meeting with their local MLA's to advocate for increased funding to legal aid in BC. In addition, local and regional media have published the Law Society's op-eds on why a just society requires properly funded legal aid. Read the op-eds in the Vancouver Sun, Burnaby Now, the Merrit Herald, Prince George Citizen, Smithers Interior News and Victoria Times Colonist.


June 2017

The Law Society sent a media release to call on the new government to increase legal aid funding. Read the media release.


March 2017

The Benchers adopted the vision set out in the report A Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid in British Columbia. The vision is based on the premise that in a society based on the rule of law, every person must have equal access to the justice system. Because there is no equality of resources within society, some people will require aid to enforce their rights or understand their responsibilities. Legal aid is therefore a crucial part of the proper administration of justice.


November 2016

The Legal Aid Task Force held a colloquium to share and discuss the task force's initial research and findings. The event's participants included judges, lawyers, senior levels of government and key stakeholders. The task force is reviewing the feedback and will provide a final report.


September 2015

Benchers approved the creation of the Legal Aid Task Force to promote and improve access to justice with a focus on legal aid.