After watching part two of the video my general impression was that it was making a point on how legal aid in BC isn’t incorporated into the system where it is deemed as essential in all cases. If I am not mistaken, the example I heard in terms of where a person must be provided with a lawyer if they can’t afford it is with a criminal case. Essentially, only certain cases can qualify for legal aid.
I was thinking though what would happen if we completely changed how it works for what should be simple cases? This is where I think someone on the other side of the fence would have to show me why the current way is say better or more “fair”.
Imagine if the judge was the decision maker and the investigator in a way. The process would simply involve the two parties making a claim and submitting all their evidence and statements to prove it. Immediately the judge taking on the case has to read through everything ahead of time where they should have a list of questions or doubts for both parties. Then upon the first meeting they can confirm or deny their thoughts and then tell both parties legally what they need to show to prove a case or at the same time if they feel someone is clear cut.
From my experience of the current system, this way it makes way more sense to process cases faster. You shouldn’t even require a lawyer. The only argument I can think of is that this would potentially make the judge bias where there are possibilities that they could be giving one side say more advice. But realistically, if everything is documented and this judge is the one making the ultimate decision isn’t it better to go with a direction like this? I know TV is different, but it is more along the lines of what you would see in an episode of Judge Judy.
Speaking of things like Judge Judy, that’s actually how simple and to the point I thought a simple small claims within a civil court would be as even the legal aid advice I was getting encouraged me that it would be straight forward. Why can’t simple cases be like this? This would require no legal aid per se. Just the people, the facts, logic and common sense.
I bumped into this video recently that seemed to revolve around the debate on whether or not legal aid services should be aright or privilege here in Canada. It was conducted by a group called the Lawyers Rights Watch Canada. Rather than me explaining here is the video:
From what I gathered, it is essentially trying to describe how legal aid is more readily available in other countries and that there are examples where the lack of legal aid here has created scenarios such as the acceptance rate of cases have been significantly lower. I guess another way to put it is that a self-represented litigant doesn’t have the legal knowledge to form a case to the satisfaction of the court.
Like in those examples many would say because they don’t have the funds to retain a lawyer they are essentially out of luck and that something needs to be changed to make sure that people always have access to legal aid. Like one of my previous comments before though, I believe other items need to be fixed first before you can start talking about legal aid.
For example, why is the procedure so complex that a person can’t self-represent themselves properly in a fair manner to begin with? Can you imagine if we said everyone has a right to vote and the system to do so requires you to properly input complex technical codes for it to register properly? If you can’t do it on your own then you could say hire a computer technician for $250/hr.
Like here, debating about how people should have the right to access a computer technician might be valid in some ways. However, I think everyone would agree that the system shouldn’t be that complex to begin with where someone can’t easily do it themselves. With the voting example, it makes more sense to focus in having the technicians design a system that anyone can easily use and understand.
In this video so far, I think the same should be true where lawyers or judges should focus more in an effort to design a system that is meant for everyday people. There is still more to the video, so part two coming later.
I was reading some articles lately discussing about the topic on how the legal aid system is failing in BC as financially there is not enough money for lawyers to help everyone. As a result, there were some situations such as lawyers being urged to not work on legal aid cases. Some people dub it as a legal aid blackout. Generally speaking, I do not think that BC legal aid needs more funding. Alright, before anyone jumps to conclusion be sure to read my entire post.
As you all may know with my situation, initially I did use some legal aid services. So the immediate reaction would be how could I say it doesn’t need more funding then when a person like myself needed such a service? Think of it like this. If every time to get to work the city stated that you must drive a car through a hazardous road which causes you thousands of dollars in mechanic fees everyday would it make sense to say the solution is to give mechanics more money so that people can afford to get to work?
Or pretend if you were traveling from Vancouver to Toronto for some kind of medical emergency a country says you must first travel west bound, basically through Asia and Europe, as opposed to simply going east within Canada. Would it make sense there to say that the healthcare system needs more money to solve the huge travel expense for people who can’t afford plane tickets for that type of travel? Unless I am crazy, I think everyone would naturally react by saying “Why should I have to go through that thorn filled road with a car to begin with?” or “Why can’t I just fly straight east to Toronto instead?”
So to me, that is the reason why I say the BC legal aid does not need more funding because I think the system itself is broken which causes the crazy financial burden on those seeking justice in the first place. Why aren’t people more focused in fixing the tedious path and logistics of the legal/justice system first? Like with my documented example, surely you can see how inefficient it is both financially and productively. Wouldn’t it make sense to fix that first and stop it from being so expensive or time consuming in the first place?
Rest assured, there are a lot of lawyers and judges that want to do good for people. Likewise, like any other industry there are probably a lot who just care about getting money. From my experience, the road of the court system given to regular people are not designed to be easily accessible for an average person. In my view, that needs to be fixed first. If anything, funding should be used to fix that first and foremost. I am doubtful that it will ever happen in this day and age though.