If you are involved in a criminal, or family law dispute, contact Mehdi Au LLP, has lawyers on staff that accept Legal Aid Certificates.
Legal Aid Ontario funds a number of province wide initiative to assist vulnerable people in accessing justice. They fund, legal aid clinics that specialize in matters of poverty law (including evictions, income maintenance, employment rights, etc.), Duty Counsel services for day of assistance in the courthouse, and they also fund the “Certificate” System.
What Is A Legal Aid Certificate
The Certificate system allows low income persons charged with certain criminal matters and involved in family law disputes to hire a lawyer of their choice to assist them with their legal issues. Until recently, there was also funding available to people involved in certain immigration matters. After applying, Legal Aid (if their criteria are met) would issue a “Certificate” which is a sort of voucher, that the person would then take to a lawyer of their choice who would then “acknowledge” (accept) the certificate. Following work being completed on the matter the lawyer would get paid for their work from Legal Aid.
Unfortunately, with the government’s budget announcement, Legal Aid Ontario has seen a significant budget cut, leading many to worry about the future of the certificate system.
Why Legal Aid Funding Is Important
If low income persons cannot hire a lawyer, their matters will likely languish before the courts. It has long been recognized that with a bigger pocket-book, you can afford to litigate and access the court system far more easily. Legal Aid, only covers very specific matters, for a very low income threshold. By cutting funding, only the most vulnerable of litigants will be denied access to competent legal representation.
Considering the dire consequences involved in criminal and family law mattes (loss of one’s liberty, loss of one’s children, loss of job opportunities, etc.) it is imperative that Ontarians resist the budget cuts that will affect their fellow Ontarians. Everyone charged with a crime has the right to retain a criminal lawyer, without funding for Legal Aid, that critical right in our democracy, risks being eroded.
Legal Aid funding cuts may have far reaching impacts, their full impact has as of yet only begun to manifest, immigration funding has been cut entirely, and no new certificates for refugee matters are being issued.
What You Can Do
Consider contacting your MPP, and express your concerns relating to Legal Aid Funding cuts, share articles on social media, and don’t forget to talk about the issues with friends and family.
Mehdi Au LLP has lawyers on staff who accept criminal and family law Legal Aid certificates. If you require assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.
Disclaimer: Use of this site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor / client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for non-profit educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. The use of this website does not create a solicitor-client (attorney-client) relationship. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly.