Canada

Hearings begin to challenge government stance on legal aid for poor women

The Single Mothers Alliance filed a constitutional lawsuit five years ago, alleging that legal aid entitlements did not meet the needs of low-income women.

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A three-day hearing began in the BC Supreme Court, where a group challenged the state government’s position that it was incapable of bringing legal aid cases to trial.

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Five years ago, the Single Mothers Alliance launched a constitutional complaint that eligibility for legal aid did not meet the needs of low-income women, especially those fleeing domestic violence.

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The alliance is headed by the West Coast Leaf, whose executive director said the eligibility requirements are problematic as single mothers in a two-person household need to earn about $29,000 to get legal aid. increase.

Raji Mangat says many working mothers have to represent themselves in what is essentially a “broken” system and can be cross-examined by their ex-partner’s lawyers, so some mothers will suffer psychological trauma.

The Attorney General’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Mangat said women who work full-time and earn minimum wage may be treated as if they have disposable income to spend on lawyers’ fees while they have to take time off to appear in court. It is said that there is

“The stakes are high when you factor in the fact that we’re talking about an incident involving domestic violence,” she said.

“These aren’t cases that could be settled out of court because the abuser is usually an irrational person,” Mangat said of the “intimidating” process.

“Our family law defines domestic violence very tightly and there are all things you can do to protect yourself. If you can’t, what’s the point of putting these laws in a book?”

Currently, only the very poor have access to legal aid, but time is limited and people with cognitive disabilities and parallel ongoing immigration procedures are not taken into account, Mangat said.

“We expect people to somehow survive a broken system. We call it access to justice,” she said.

Hearings begin to challenge government stance on legal aid for poor women

Source link Hearings begin to challenge government stance on legal aid for poor women

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