Access to justice is critical for Canadians: chief justice of the Supreme Court


Supreme Court of Canada

Who can afford to go there?

Middle-class Canadians are increasingly frozen out by the cost and complexity of Canada’s judicial processes, says the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

By CanWest News ServiceMarch 9, 2007

TORONTO – Middle-class Canadians are increasingly frozen out by the cost and complexity of Canada’s judicial processes, says the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
A Canadian of average means may have to consider remortgaging their home, gambling their retirement savings or forsaking their child’s college fund to pursue justice, Beverley McLachlintold a crowd of about 150 in Toronto Thursday.
“Access to justice is quite simply critical. Unfortunately, many Canadian men and women find themselves unable, mainly for financial reasons, to access the Canadian justice system. Some of them become their own lawyers, or try to,” she said. “Hard hit are average middle-class Canadians.”
Those with some income and a few assets may be ineligible for legal aid and therefore without choices, said McLachlin. “Their options are grim: use up the family assets in litigation; become their own lawyers or give up. The result may be injustice.”

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