The British Columbian Court of Appeal expressly ruled yesterday that Canadians have no fundmental right to government-funded legal aid assistance in civil matters.
Madame Justice Mary Saunders delivered the Court's Reasons for Judgment: which upheld the September 2006 dismissal of a B.C. court action by the Canadian Bar Association "to force governments to provide adequate civil legal aid to poor people,"
Access to legal services is fundamentally important in any free and democratic society. In some cases, it has been found essential to due process and a fair trial. But a review of the constitutional text, the jurisprudence and the history of the concept does not support the respondent's contention that there is a broad general right to legal counsel as an aspect of, or precondition to, the rule of law.
Costs were also awarded against the C.B.A.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto