Letter to Editor on Legal Aid
One of the greatest fallacies we have in legal reform is that increasing legal aid is a panacea to all of our problems in the legal industry. Even with increased funding, the majority of Canadians are ineligible, and still cannot afford a lawyer.
Legal aid expansions only really benefit us in the legal profession, by providing a steady and predictable source of government-funded clients.
What’s needed is more comprehensive overhauls of our legal system, including greater reliance on technology, more free and accessible legal information, and greater consequences for inappropriate conduct by lawyers or self-represented parties. Many of us within the law are pushing for these changes, as is the attorney general.
Legal aid certainly has its place, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that leaving the majority of Canadians vulnerable to bankruptcy when exposed to the legal system is an acceptable alternative. If even a fraction of legal aid funding is spent in improving processes in the broader system, it’s something that will benefit all of us in the long-term.