Intetgrating pro bono and legal aid

By , October 26, 2009 11:14 pm

Participation in pro bono programming is rising sharply across Canada as lawyers mobilize to mitigate the endemic problems of cost, delay and complexity in our justice system. Province-wide pro bono organizations now exist in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. New pro bono organizations will soon emerge in the Maritimes and the Territories. Each pro bono organization — young or old — pursues the same basic mission: to increase access to justice through the provision of pro bono services to individuals of limited means. Each pro bono organization also operates according to the core principle that pro bono services should complement rather than substitute for a properly funded legal aid system.

The increasing vitality of Canada’s pro bono organizations should, on the one hand, inspire considerable pride among Canadian lawyers, since it reflects a pervasive spirit of benevolence and a healthy respect for the rule of law. On the other hand, it should raise considerable concern over the inability or unwillingness of governments and the profession to make our justice system more accessible, more equitable and more efficient. The growing complexity of our judicial processes calls for substantial reform, but it is no coincidence that the current decline in access to justice parallels the gradual dismantling of legal aid in most provinces.

via Intetgrating pro bono and legal aid.

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