For Immediate Release
Dec. 30, 2011
Ministry of Attorney General
Legal aid for families and children increased
VICTORIA – As part of its commitment to B.C.’s justice system, the Ministry of Attorney General will boost annual legal aid funding by $2.1 million to help ensure families have access to family and child protection services.
This additional funding for the Legal Services Society (LSS) will assist families with emergency family matters related to custody or access, as well as to provide for representation for parents with children in the custody of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. This funding brings annual legal aid funding in B.C. to $68.6 million.
The Ministry of Attorney General will make this funding available through efficiencies in its administrative resources.
Enhancing the Province’s justice system is a priority for government. This is being done through innovation and reform, as well as adding new resources.
Government remains committed to introducing new initiatives – including the Family Law Act – that take matters out of courtrooms, find efficiencies and increase capacity. To help achieve efficiencies and reduce the number of in-court appearances, government continues to expanding videoconferencing technology in courtrooms throughout the province.
With 14 provincial court judges appointed over two years and the ongoing hiring of court administrators and sheriffs, government continues to invest critical resources in the justice system.
Attorney General Shirley Bond –
“Our new family law legislation places the best interests of children first and we wanted to ensure that the Legal Services Society had additional resources to support families who needed assistance to resolve custody, access and other legal disputes.”
“This is especially important for families whose children are in protective custody and who cannot afford legal services on their own. We will continue to look for additional resources and efficiencies in our justice system to ensure it is fair and effective.”
Legal Services Society executive director Mark Benton –
“LSS is pleased with the increased funding, as it will allow us to maintain services that are designed to help families find early and stable resolutions to their legal problems, often without having to go to court.”
· Legal aid is administered by the LSS, a publicly funded agency that is responsible for making day-to-day operating decisions about policies and the delivery of services.
· Legal aid provided representation to nearly 28,000 low-income individuals in 2010.
· Financial eligibility guidelines for legal aid in B.C. are among the most generous in Canada.
· Information, assessment and referrals, dispute resolution and limited legal advice on family and civil legal disputes are available at no cost through the Nanaimo and Vancouver Justice Access Centres.
· Information, assessment and referrals, dispute resolution and limited legal advice for family disputes are available at no cost at Family Justice Centres in other locations in the province.
· Legal Services Society: http://www.lss.bc.ca
· Justice Access Centres: http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/justice-access-centre
· Information on B.C.’s criminal justice system through JusticeBC: http://www.justicebc.ca
Ministry of Attorney General
Government Communications and Public Engagement
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