REACTION – BC Legal Aid Report Complete – Yet To Be Released To Public

Victoria – David Eby, BC’s Attorney General, is reviewing a report by lawyer Jamie Maclaren, QC, on legal aid service delivery in British Columbia.

The report is based on public feedback and consultations with legal aid stakeholders in B.C. and across Canada.

“We need to make sure that the way legal aid is delivered works for the people who need those services, and Mr. Maclaren’s report will help guide the changes we make,” said Eby. “Our government is committed to making key improvements to legal aid in B.C., but it will take time and we want to be sure we get it right.”

Kyla Lee of Acumen Law told FVN: I think withholding the report from both the public and legal community now is concerning. We paid for this review, and legal aid lawyers and their clients deserve to know what recommendations have been made. This smacks of the government attempting to buy time to figure out how to deal with a system that is broken and needs a serious injection of cash to fix any of the systemic problems.

The review focused 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 also included analysis of the current service delivery models used by the Legal Services Society, the province’s legal aid agency, as well as models from other frontline service providers and jurisdictions. The overall aim was to advance the rule of law and increase access to justice in the province.

As part of the review process, Maclaren received public feedback through a seven-week engagement held in fall 2018. Public feedback was collected through written submissions, an online survey to legal aid lawyers, pro bono lawyers and legal advocates throughout the province, and personal consultations with a wide variety of legal aid stakeholders.

Before it releases the report publicly, government will review each recommendation to analyze and consider the potential social and financial impacts. Careful consideration of the report’s findings reflects government’s interest in developing policy and improving services that make life better for all British Columbians.

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