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

Sand sculptor creates special eagle head in Qualicum Beach

Kaube fashions work behind Civic Centre

Qualicum Beach seniors hiking group tackles alpine trails

Annual trip involves taking helicopter to remote locations

Parksville asks for help identifying veterans for special banner project

Program to honour veterans whose names are listed on Parksville cenotaph

VIDEO: Disabled Vancouver Island feline teaching foster kittens ‘how to cat’

Life goes from sour to sweet for Lemon, an adopted cat from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Researchers find cannabis use in pregnancy linked to greater risk of autism

Researchers caution findings only show association — not cause and effect

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

Antonio Banderas says he’s tested positive for coronavirus

Acclaimed actor celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine

Most Read