Legal Aid And Social Justice
The legal aid program in Ontario has been getting cut by the government. What happens to people that cannot afford lawyers? Further, what happens when the government is refusing to provide them with legal aid?
It was the Progressive Conservative Party that built a legal aid program in Ontario. This program was the envy of the world.
Lawyers need to ensure that their individual members and clients do not unfairly lose any of their legal liberties. Further, legal services should not only be available to those who are affluent. Also, what happens to people who are criminally charged and cannot afford criminal defense lawyers to represent them?
Reforms to legal aid in Ontario
The Star recorded how the Ford government proposed reforms to legal aid in Ontario. These cuts would leave thousands of vulnerable people in Ontario without legal representation if they are charged with a criminal offense. Therefore, many legal aid lawyers started looking for salary jobs elsewhere.
A few years ago, a defense attorney was lucky enough to reach a point in his legal career where he could stop having to represent people on legal aid. Further, the criminal lawyer grew tired of the deterioration and disappointment that came from legal aid. There were shockingly insufficient budgets.
The hourly rates left nothing for his bank account after the expense of running his office. Also, he had to write pages to justify the smallest of disbursements. Further, the list of frustrations went on and on and the lawyer couldn’t handle it anymore.
What defense lawyers say about Legal Aid
Lawyers know that they are the ones that can protect justice, fairness, and protection as individuals. Therefore, if there is no one to protect them when society charges and prosecutes them, justice fails.
It should now be clear why legal aid should take care of these attorneys. They’ve been hanging on in the face of budget cuts for years and they can’t hold on any longer. Further, they will have to use their substantial abilities in other, rewarding areas of law or leave the law altogether.
Final thoughts – is the Legal Aid Program really dead?
Recently there was a trial in Hamilton where the man that was charged couldn’t read to defend himself. In the court, he couldn’t understand the Crown’s evidence against him. Further, the evidence was contained in two large boxes.
In conclusion, Canada should have a comprehensive legal aid program. Having a lawyer is a key feature of a fair society. There can be no safety for anyone in a community without lawyers. Therefore, it’s the government’s responsibility to find a way to make legal aid work again.
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