Lawyers to stage Vancouver rally
Lawyers want more funding so people will have access to representation. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)
A rally of lawyers is expected outside the Vancouver provincial courthouse Monday to protest what they call unfair access to justice because of lacklustre legal aid funding levels.
The rally is organized by the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C., which says it represents up to 1,400 lawyers in the province.
Lawyer Justin Myers said up to 300 robed professionals could show up for the rally.
Legal aid funding currently sits at approximately $77 million — lawyers say the program needs another $50 million.
Myers said the funding situation has meant it’s become more and more difficult for those who need it to obtain legal aid.
“Before, everybody used to get legal aid ... for residential tenancy disputes, civil matters, they would get legal aid for pretty much any criminal matter where you couldn’t afford a lawyer,” he said.
“Now the system has changed.”
According to the B.C. Court of Appeal’s most recent annual report, 14% of criminal cases had a party without a lawyer.
Lawyers are expected to begin their rally at 12:30 p.m. at 222 Main Street.