Toronto Star – Liberal government makes legal aid available to more people

Toronto Star – Liberal government makes legal aid available to more people

Toronto Star article with Dr. Julie Macfarlane quoted



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Comments (2)

  • sandra olson

    this concept is what existed before all the cuts. only the very poor and the very rich can access the courts. until access to the courts exist without any blocks, as a constitutional right, this system is broken. there should be no access that is blocked for any reason. this is a band aid that has no chance of success

    November 1, 2014 at 12:54 am
  • Ken Chasse, Toronto, LSUC & LSBC.

    What of the majority of the population who cannot afford legal services? This government takes their tax money to give a minority of the population free legal services by means of Legal Aid Ontario, but gives that majority no help in obtaining legal services for themselves. That is immoral. And, the Law Society publishes its statements urging Ontario’s governments to fund legal aid better, but it has done nothing for that majority all during the decades that this “unaffordable legal services problem” has been developing. That is equally immoral because the problem has been caused by their neglect of the problem. This same problem exists all through Canada, but the news media, the pressure groups, and Canada’s governments have all ignored it. That shows a lack of competence.
    The law that gives the law societies the power to regulate the legal profession imposes a duty to make legal services available to the population at reasonable cost. That duty has been neglected, and no law society publication expressly accepts that duty as a law society duty. And thirdly, the problem is now too complex for the part-time and amateurish management provided by the lawyers who are the managers of our law societies–the benchers. Neglect of the problem and of that duty, and an inability to solve the problem, show clearly that a different management structure is necessary, otherwise the problem will never be solved. The fault is that of law societies. It is not the fault of lawyers or law firms.
    Lawyers and their families face a very poor economic future. They should not tolerate such poor performance from their law societies.
    In regard to the availability of legal services, Canada is a dysfunctional society and no longer has a justice system of which it can be proud. Replace law society management or the problem will continue to grow in the damage it is causing to the population, to the courts clogged with self-represented litigants, and to the legal profession itself.
    Journalists should be publishing the stories of those self-represented litigants. They are a self-selected group of misery and distress. Ask them: (1) why are they there without lawyers and therefore most likely to lose and have to pay court costs; (2) why don’t they have lawyers; and, (3) what do they think of the legal profession.
    Until the problem is solved, there can be no guarantee of the rule of law as guaranteed by Canada’s constitution. Law societies stand in the way of the proper operation of Canada’s constitution, in particular, obstructing the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Taxpayers fund the justice system, but get no affordable legal services in return. The justice system is where law society benchers work, but they have provided no legal services for those taxpayers. Nothing has been proposed that will make legal advice services affordable.
    A national discussion of this problem needs to be started. The issue is, does solving the unaffordable legal services problem require that law societies be substantially altered in their management structure or replaced?
    (For in-depth analysis of this problem, see the “access to justice” articles that I have posted on the Social Science Research Network (the SSRN, at:

    November 1, 2014 at 8:52 pm

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