Province Conducting External Review Of Legal Aid – Service And Delivery

Victoria – While this is not a new announcement per se, as the NDP Government and Attorney General David Eby has been looking at BC Legal Aid since the day they were elected. In this case, it is reacting to criticism from serious complaints about the inadequate tariff for lawyers and the ineffectiveness of providing legal services at that rate.

In their statement : David Eby, Attorney General, has requested a review of legal aid service delivery models, including a report with recommendations, by Dec. 31, 2018. The review is being conducted by practising lawyer Jamie Maclaren, using terms of reference laid out by the attorney general.

David Eby

The review will focus on the effectiveness and efficiencies of legal aid service delivery in British Columbia from the point of view of citizens who use legal aid services.

It will also consider analysis of the current service-delivery models used by Legal Services Society (LSS), including the following elements and issues:

  • workflow and caseload demand
  • certificate/private bar models
  • mixed models
  • duty counsel
  • clinics
  • major cases
  • paralegals
  • trends and challenges: geographical, cultural/demographic, technological; priorities, flexibility, resourcing, capacity
  • models used in other jurisdictions including staff lawyers
  • other topics the reviewer considers important

As a part of the review process, Maclaren will consider public feedback during development of his report and recommendations. Members of the public can provide written submissions until November 23, via a dedicated email mailbox.

Kyla Lee with Acumen Law told FVN: This review is just another disappointing way avoid coming to terms with the fact that in BC lawyers working for legal aid are grossly underpaid and underfunded, which then in turn puts the clients at a disadvantage.

Kyla Lee – Submitted Photo

I worry that this is just going to be another example – by looking at it from the POV of those who use the services – of the government pointing the finger at the lawyers rather than at themselves for not funding this system properly

That being said, Jamie Maclaren is a really great guy and I think he understands the concerns that lawyers have around the inability to do effective work for little to no revenue.  So seeing that he is on the project is encouraging.


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