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

Masks and temperature checks now mandatory to enter Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Mall says it’s the first in B.C. to put the measures in place

Snuneymuxw, province sign land transfer agreement that includes parts of Mount Benson

First Nation sees economic development opportunities through forestry partnerships

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

Most Read