Some say our legal system is for the rich or the poor but not for those in between. Now there is a service that fills the gap by helping people in need of legal expertise whose income is too high to access legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees.
JusticeNet, is a bilingual, not-for-profit service that promotes increased access to justice for low and moderate income Canadians. It is intended to complement public legal aid and pro bono programs and is available to anyone living in Canada who has a net family income under $59,000 and is experiencing financial difficulties. Reduced fees are calculated on a sliding scale which takes into account the number of individuals supported and amount of income from all sources.
The legal professionals found on the JusticeNet site have agreed to devote a portion of their practice to qualifying clients at reduced fees. Members of the public can find a participating lawyer by entering their location and the area of law in which they need assistance into a simple search box.
For lawyers, participation in JusticeNet provides an opportunity to take a leadership role in bridging the access to justice gap while enhancing their professional reputation. Accepting a JusticeNet case is voluntary and is not intended to interfere with the lawyer’s existing practice or regular rates, but rather moderately lowers hourly fees on a portion of his or her practice. Lawyers control the number of clients they accept and can change their availability status at any time.
Access to justice is certainly a cause worth reflecting on as we approach a brand new year.
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.