Case was heard in Surrey provincial court. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

More people to be eligible for legal aid in B.C., society says

Financial eligibility cutoff for new service is $1,000 higher than for regular legal aid services

The Legal Services Society is introducing a new program to provide legal aid to accused people in British Columbia who wouldn’t normally qualify for assistance.

The society says in a news release that by relaxing eligibility rules, legal aid lawyers will be able to help more people navigate the criminal justice system.

It says the new service will be available throughout the province to help eligible clients get legal advice on cases that are suitable for early resolution.

The financial eligibility cutoff for the new service is $1,000 higher than for regular legal aid services, and clients do not have to face jail time to qualify.

The society says it previously had to deny help to 1,200 applicants each year because their incomes were over the financial eligibility limit or they were not facing jail time.

The B.C. government has committed $2 million for eight pilot clinics to provide legal advice and included $26 million over three years in its 2018 budget to help provide more criminal, family and civil legal aid services.

Society CEO Mark Benton says the new service can now help those who otherwise would have had to represent themselves and it will also benefit the courts with the early resolution of cases.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby says this will work towards ensuring more residents have equal access to justice, especially those who are underserved or marginalized.

The society says the new service will help resolve appropriate cases within 90 days, before trial dates are set.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Farm Store Fury drop two by 2-0 scores

Cowichan Div. 3 men out of McGavin Cup tournament

North Cowichan to consider contracts for new RCMP building

Looks to contractors working on similar construction in Fort St. John

Editorial: Election vandalism poor way to express an opinion

It was discouraging to hear that two acts of vandalism targeting candidates… Continue reading

Rain raises water levels in Cowichan Lake

Possibility that pumps could be shut down soon

Caps beat Chiefs at home, then bow to Kings

Injuries, suspensions, travel all effect trip to Powell River

‘It’s almost surreal’: B.C. fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

Provincial population could reach almost seven million in 2043, but Alberta is growing faster

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Most Read