The handful of lawyers who accept legal aid are ” missionaries “, pleads the Bar of Quebec, which calls for a reform and enhancement of the remuneration attached to this type of file.
The law society has recently tabled its economic proposals for 2020 in the framework of pre-budget consultations of the ministry of Finance. The college calls in particular$ 52 Million to review the fee schedule of the legal aid.
Being not or very little paid for the preparation of files and having no idea of the amount they will receive for long complex cases, fewer lawyers engage in this type of adventure.
“Our membership in the law society continues to grow. But fewer lawyers accept legal aid. He has roughly 20 years, about 14 % of the lawyers taking at least a mandate of legal aid per year. Now, it is rendering to 8 %, ” says in the interview, the bâtonnier of Quebec, Me Paul-Matthieu Grondin.
“So often, lawyers – of the missionaries in these cases – take the files and finance them in full. It can last months, years, they are not paid, and at the end, they do not know the amount [they will receive], ” he continued.
Problem of “society”
Bâtonnier of the Quebec
The problems faced at the legal aid beyond the remuneration of lawyers and directly affect the protection of the public, according to Me Grondin.
“The rates of legal aid, it is a problem of society which we do not realize, he notes. We think that the poorest in society have the right to full representation of quality that we can give them. ”
For example, 50 % of citizens who find themselves for one reason or another before the courts to defend currently without a lawyer, ahead of the president. What constitutes a “major problem” for the system.
“It encumbers the courts, it loses time, it loses money, the judges are obliged to explain to the citizen the system, because it is a system that remains complex,” exposes Me Grondin.
In this same logic, the law society calls for a better accessibility to the legal aid system to citizens. Currently, eligibility is based on the annual salary. The law society is campaigning for eligibility on a basis of monthly pay, as this prevails in the other canadian provinces.
“The problem with the annual basis, it is that if you lose your job, decrease of income is immediate in the following month. However, we will still evaluate your salary for the year, which makes things more difficult for eligibility. On a monthly basis, it would call more people “.
Recall that a lawyer of Quebec, to Me, Félix-Antoine T. Doyon, currently contesting before the courts the constitutionality of the legal aid tariff. “This is a big issue in the legal community at this time : when are we going to have a catch-up that looks great ? This is the question that everyone asks “, advance Me Grondin, without pronouncing on the steps of Me Doyon.