Lack of funding prompts B.C.’s legal-aid lawyers to plan service withdrawal

Association of Legal Aid Lawyers voted for job action to limit or suspend legal aid starting April 1

British Columbia’s legal-aid lawyers have voted overwhelmingly to start withdrawing their services next month over lack of funding.

The Association of Legal Aid Lawyers says 97 per cent of 590 members voted for job action to limit or suspend legal aid starting April 1.

A news release from the association says the only pay increase legal-aid lawyers have received in 28 years was in 2006 when their hourly rate was boosted by 10 per cent.

The lawyers group also says the average spent per person on legal aid in 1993 was $25.22 and, accounting for inflation, should now amount to about $40.

Instead, data shows 2018 per-capita spending on legal aid has fallen to just under $15, ranking B.C. 10th out of 12 provinces and territories.

Legal-aid lawyers say the funding cut requires immediate government attention.

READ MORE: B.C. legal aid lawyers say province must boost funding or they’ll strike

“As a result of these cuts, vulnerable and marginalized British Columbians are not receiving the legal help they need. Too many people facing difficult family, child protection, immigration and criminal law problems are having to go to court alone,” says the release.

The near-unanimous vote underscores that “lawyers cannot continue doing this extremely difficult work under current conditions.”

The association calls the result “an overwhelming endorsement” from B.C.’s family, criminal, child protection and immigration legal-aid lawyers.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No new COVID cases in Kootenay-Boundary

As of July 30, there were no additional cases in the previous two weeks

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Phase three presents new opportunities for Kootenay tourism

Message from MLA Michelle Mungall and MLA Katrine Conroy

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Interior Health reports nine new cases of COVID-19, 149 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Racism in B.C. healthcare: Deadline for First Nations survey coming up on Aug. 6

Survey comes after hospital staff allegedly played a blood alcohol guessing game

Most Read