More than 10,000 Canadians received a medically-assisted death in 2021: report
Quebec Superior Court suspends Bill 96’s translation requirement until constitutionality determined
The Ontario government has given Maggie an ultimatum: the disabled teen can lose her funding or her independence
FBI took 11 sets of classified material from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home while investigating possible Espionage Act violations (US)
Ontario class action settlement reclassifies volunteers as employees, setting new precedent
Availability of Judicial Review in SABS Disputes
Are masking policies still valid?
Justice Canada releases commission report on impact of lack of legal aid in family law disputes
Harmonized sales tax part of maximum amount of attendant care benefits owed by insurer: court
New rules coming next month to help Canadians with cancelled and delayed flights
Stephen King set to testify for govt in books merger trial (US)
New law program in Quebec to begin next fall, a first in 50 years
The Impact of the Lack of Legal Aid in Family Law Cases
SCC rules that when someone is required by their partner to wear a condom but do not, they could be guilty of sexual assault.
Big Plastic suing feds over single-use ban — again
Tim Hortons offers coffee and doughnut as proposed settlement in class action lawsuit
The SCC has refused to hear the appeal to declare the renewal of the state of health emergency by the Quebec government invalid
Federal privacy commissioner investigating controversial ArriveCAN app
Kraken, a U.S. Crypto Exchange, Is Suspected of Violating Sanctions (US)
Ontario court certifies class action on former patients’ anxiety from notice of risk of infection
The stakes couldn’t be higher as Canada’s top court decides whether to hear climate class action lawsuit
Professor Barnali Choudhury selected by EU as trade and sustainable development expert
The Supreme Court decision on the ‘Ghomeshi’ amendments will help sexual assault victims access justice
AFN Reaches $20 B Final Settlement Agreement to Compensate First Nations Children and Families

Quebec defence lawyers stage a two-day strike

Lawyers who take on legal aid cases are paid a flat fee between $415 and $600 for all services rendered, regardless of how long they work.

PHOTO: The Palais de Justice in Montreal. PHOTO BY JOHN KENNEY /Montreal Gazette file photo
Defence lawyers across Quebec began a two-day strike on Monday while calling on the provincial government to make a “massive investment” in legal aid cases.

“The Quebec criminal justice system is collapsing because one of its main pillars, access to justice, is in jeopardy,” Elizabeth Ménard, president of the Association des avocats de la défence de Montréal, wrote Monday in an open letter to Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette. “This issue, which is fundamental in a free and democratic society and which seemed so dear to you during the last election campaign, is being undermined because the derisory legal aid tariffs are hindering lawyers from representing the most vulnerable in society, for lack of means.”

Most defence lawyers with cases scheduled to be before a judge on Monday asked that they be carried over to a later date. The same is expected to happen on Tuesday. Defence lawyers at the Montreal courthouse did represent clients in urgent matters, including the first court appearances for many accused. A person charged with a crime in Montreal is required to make their first appearance before a judge within 24 hours of their arrest.

According to Ménard’s letter, the current fee structure for lawyers who take on legal aid cases “provides for a flat fee that varies between $415 and $600 for all services rendered.” The fee structure was last revised in 1996.

The fixed amount covers every aspect of a case, from an accused’s first court appearance to the end, whether it comes as the result of a quick guilty plea or a lengthy trial that ends 30 months later with many court dates involved

Ménard wrote that the association is “calling for a massive reinvestment in the justice system in order to improve fees for lawyers in private practice who deal with legal aid files, which represent 75 per cent of all files authorized in criminal matters.”

She also pointed out that lawyers are abandoning legal aid mandates for lack of adequate compensation. This forces defendants to represent themselves, including people with mental health problems, drug addicts and people with little education. This situation contributes to delays at courthouses already plagued with the problem of a shortage of courtroom clerks.

“While the flavour of the day is nationalism and the chosen theme of your party’s last convention is “pride”, know that Quebec ranks last in terms of legal aid tariffs,” Ménard wrote. “Ontario, which is also at the bottom of the ranking but just ahead of us, offers rates 2 to 3 times higher.”


Want direct access to the latest LITN content?

Stay in the loop ➞ Subscribe to LITN instant notifications.
Receive the latest content delivered directly to your device.
Unsubscribe at anytime.

Latest News


Join the LITN Newsletter ➞ the latest news delivered to your inbox. Unsubscribe at any time.


Instagram Feed