Liberals say underpaid lawyers in the province are refusing legal aid work

Current pay rates for legal aid lawyers has led Nova Scotia’s Liberals to call on Premier Tim Houston to make sure these lawyers are paid fairly, highlighting concerns about access to justice for the most vulnerable people in the province.

The absence of fair pay can discourage lawyers from accepting legal aid cases, potentially leaving many without necessary legal support.

“Private lawyers deserve to be fairly compensated for legal aid certificates and required prep time,” said Opposition Leader, Zach Churchill in a recent release. “We’re already dealing with a backlog of cases because of delayed judicial appointments and shortages of prosecutors and court staff. The Houston government needs to make improving our justice system a priority.”

A 2021 report recommendation to raise the rates paid under legal aid to better compensate lawyers has yet to be implemented.

The latest annual report from Nova Scotia Legal Aid shows that the total number of applications for legal aid services rose by 8.3% from one year to the next. The province has seen a 13.6% decrease in the issuance of legal aid certificates to private lawyers from 2020 to 2023.

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