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Annual legal aid funding increased

Last week, the Attorney General of BC announced that the Legal Services Society would be receiving an additional $2.1 million in funding beginning in April of this year. This funding is aimed at supporting our family law and child protection services.

This is the first funding increase for our family law programs since 2005 and will ensure we are able to maintain current levels of service. These programs are particularly important because they focus on achieving early and stable resolutions, often without going to court.

We advised the Ministry of the Attorney General in June 2011 of the need for increased funding, given the rising costs of cases over recent years. LSS conducted a detailed analysis of the reasons for the cost increase and found that it was largely the result of factors outside of our control. Case costs have risen for a variety of reasons, such as, the increased use of alternative dispute resolution alongside traditional court processes, the cost of delivering services to remote communities, and court backlogs.

In 2012, LSS will be urging justice system stakeholders to work with us on initiatives to simplify the courts, promote early intervention and dispute resolution, and improve access to justice in BC.

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