Access to Justice – The Unavailability of Legal Services at Reasonable Cost and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
66 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2013
Date Written: August 29, 2013
The majority of the population of Canada cannot obtain legal services at reasonable cost. This is the most serious problem the legal profession in Canada has faced, but the profession is not coping successfully with it. Therefore the law of “access to justice” must be made to fit the problem, instead of the problem made to continue to endure the comfort of the law and of the legal profession. Taxpayers cannot be asked to pay for more Legal Aid while they themselves cannot afford lawyers. The successful solutions, both administrative and legal, must be innovative because neither is able to cope in its present form. There is therefore a need for an increase in government’s share of the management of the monopoly by which legal services are delivered if law societies cannot ensure “legal services at reasonable cost” for people not eligible for Legal Aid.
A Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms argument to recognize “legal services at reasonable cost” as a constitutional right is developed to justify such intervention. It is based upon the concept that being middle class, or of “middle income,” and unable to obtain legal services at reasonable cost is “immutable, or changeable only at unacceptable cost to personal identity,” and to one’s ability to invoke constitutional rights and freedoms and the rule of law.
Keywords: access to justice, legal services at reasonable cost-government interention-equality rights-two-tier justice
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