Strengthening legal aid services

There is some good news to report on legal aid in BC; some encouraging steps in the right direction. Thanks to you and your leadership in the legal aid bar, along with the talented staff at Legal Aid BC (LABC), the Province, many other valued partners, we have made progress on our collective mission to strengthen client-centred legal help for low-income British Columbians facing barriers amidst serious legal consequences. 
Lawyer helping client at a table

As recently announced, a three-year agreement was just reached between the BC Government, Legal Aid BC, and the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers, underscoring our collective effort to better serve our clients, and to strengthen relationships across the legal system. In addition to increased tariff rates, an Indigenous travel bursary fund will be established, and your perspective will be further incorporated into legal aid policy changes. FAQs on how the agreement will be implemented

The LABC Professional Employees Association, representing about 30 LABC staff lawyers, has also ratified their new collective agreement. Many of these lawyers are, like you, working on the front lines, typically at Parents Legal Centres across the province, while others leverage their expertise to achieve better outcomes for our clients. 

In response to what we’ve heard from family law lawyers, we’ve increased the number of hours we can pay lawyers to prepare family law cases via Family Limited Representation Contracts (FLRCs). We’ve also increased key disbursement rates for mediators and interpreters in response to inflation.

Finally, with the support of the Province, some modest gains have been made to serve more British Columbians, expanding somewhat our financial eligibility guidelines, to address the rising cost of living. We’ve also addressed some thorny issues like asset poverty and child support, so we don’t unfairly deny legal aid to a potential client.

All in all, some steps in the right direction, to better fulfill our collective mission, and our shared goal of collaborating towards better outcomes for our clients. 

Thank you, all, for everything you do. 

Please read this information sheet for more detail

Michael Bryant, CEO 
Legal Aid BC