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CBA forms coalition with social groups to advocate for legal aid. (General).

LONDON -- The Canadian Bar Association is forming a legal aid Coalition to select test cases to broaden the right to legal representation and to deal with the legal aid crisis in Canada.

Daphne Dumont, Past President of the CBA announced a program that includes (1) the formation of a Coalition of nine organizations that have similar concerns regarding legal aid, (2) with Coalition partners, taking the CBA's Legal Aid Watch to the grassroots, and (3) the selection of test cases to broaden the scope of a constitutional right to legal representation.

The Coalition includes the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre (Vancouver), the Canadian Council for Refugees (Montreal) and ARCH: A Legal Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities (Toronto), among others.

"Through the Coalition, we are expanding the Watch to include the countless real life stories of people who have suffered as a result of the lack of legal aid funding, and who are regularly turned away from exercising their legal rights in areas such as employment, housing and welfare and pension benefits.

"We are looking to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to see if a case can be made to expand the right of all Canadians to the legal representation they need."

The CBA's Legal Aid Watch was launched in 2000 and has released eight legal aid stories that were distributed to media and provincial, territorial and federal elected representatives.

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Title Annotation:Canadian Bar Association
Publication:Community Action
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 19, 2002
Words:233
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