TLABC's Legal Aid Action Committee Info Page

 The Battle for Legal Aid

The legal aid sytem in British Columbia has reached a crucial point.  It has become a seriously underfunded system.  The current and long-time lack of legal aid leaves too many people in need of help, and the lawyers involved have been working in a crisis situation for far too long!

It is time to act.


In March, the Public Commission on Legal Aid released the report written by commissioner Leonard Doust QC.  The overarching conclusion of the report mirrors TLABC's key recommendation.  That is, legal aid should be considered an essential service in BC, and therefore it needs to be funded properly.

TLABC's Legal Aid Action Committee worked very hard during the summer months and then delivered a large event this fall, on September 24th, 2011, which led to more than 80 lawyers to assemble for a strategy workshop in response to the ongoing shortage of legal aid funding across the province. 

Support for the Legal Aid Action Committee has grown.  These actions have transcended the membership of TLABC, because this matter requires the attention of everyone throughout the province. 

In January, a province-wide withdrawal of duty counsel services has been organized for the first week, and will be carried out on an escalated basis, cuminating in an entire month without duty counsel.

Lawyers will be wearing light blue ribbons to court to demonstrate their support and show that they are a soldier in "The Battle for Legal Aid"- a noon-hour 'Rally in Ribbons and Robes' event will be staged in various courthouses across BC at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011.  This will sound the warning of the duty counsel withdrawal to follow, at the start of 2012.

 Withdrawal of Duty Counsel Services

More than 80 lawyers attended a Legal Aid Action Strategy Workshop on September 24. They decided that all lawyers doing legal aid work in the province should take part in a scheduled withdrawal of services, and thereby refuse to accept adult criminal duty counsel (in-custody and out of-custody,) including weekends and evenings.