Alberta to fund all Legal Aid lawyers ordered by judges
Alberta’s cash-strapped Legal Aid program is receiving more money to cover cases where a judge orders an accused person to receive financial assistance for a lawyer.
The decision comes one week after Larry Anderson, assistant chief judge of the provincial court of Alberta, threatened to stay criminal charges faced by three people unless they were given a lawyer within one week.
- Alberta Justice chips in cash to cover 3 Legal Aid cases
- Legal Aid woes continue: 3 criminal cases in jeopardy
- Legal Aid funding to be probed by auditor general
- Legal Aid closing northern Alberta offices, cutting jobs in Calgary
All three accused receive benefits under the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped or AISH program.
However, funding constraints forced Legal Aid to turn them down because they made too much money.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said that the province would pay for those three cases, but would only deal with future orders on a case by case basis.
But now Legal Aid has been told that funding will be topped up to all current and future funding ordered by the courts.
Derek Cranna, the chair of the board for Legal Aid Alberta, said that the program used to get about two to three orders each year.
In 2014, there have already been 43 orders.
The Alberta government had refused to increase funding to Legal Aid because it feels that the federal government needs to do its part.