Case was heard in Surrey provincial court. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

More people to be eligible for legal aid in B.C., society says

Financial eligibility cutoff for new service is $1,000 higher than for regular legal aid services

The Legal Services Society is introducing a new program to provide legal aid to accused people in British Columbia who wouldn’t normally qualify for assistance.

The society says in a news release that by relaxing eligibility rules, legal aid lawyers will be able to help more people navigate the criminal justice system.

It says the new service will be available throughout the province to help eligible clients get legal advice on cases that are suitable for early resolution.

The financial eligibility cutoff for the new service is $1,000 higher than for regular legal aid services, and clients do not have to face jail time to qualify.

The society says it previously had to deny help to 1,200 applicants each year because their incomes were over the financial eligibility limit or they were not facing jail time.

The B.C. government has committed $2 million for eight pilot clinics to provide legal advice and included $26 million over three years in its 2018 budget to help provide more criminal, family and civil legal aid services.

Society CEO Mark Benton says the new service can now help those who otherwise would have had to represent themselves and it will also benefit the courts with the early resolution of cases.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby says this will work towards ensuring more residents have equal access to justice, especially those who are underserved or marginalized.

The society says the new service will help resolve appropriate cases within 90 days, before trial dates are set.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Surrey school district proposing 13 new schools in the next decade

Staff suggest new designs for future builds to maximize school space

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Delta McDonald’s temporarily closed after employees test positive for COVID-19

Two employees at the Annacis Island location (1285 Cliveden Ave.) reported testing positive on Sept. 18

Scarecrow Festival given COVID twist

Art’s Nursery’s annual fall fundraiser, on the Langley-Surrey border, continues with some tweaks

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read