Justice reviews released for legal aid, sheriff's office

Independent reviews of Newfoundland and Labrador's justice system were released on Monday.
Justice Minister Darin King and Attorney General Felix Collins released two independent review of the province's justice system on Monday. (CBC)

Independent reviews of Newfoundland and Labrador's justice system were released on Monday, one looking at the Legal Aid Commission and the other at the Sheriff's Office.

The provincial government came under fire last year when it made cuts to positions in both departments after the budget was released.

Justice Minister Darin King said the province has accepted all 29 recommendations in the two reviews.

King said the provincial government has already started the work of implementing the recommendations.

"I firmly believe that our work will have a significant positive impact on the staff of the sheriff's office and the Legal Aid Commission, as well as on the people of the province who rely on the service provided," he said.

The province will maintain 17 unfunded positions at legal aid with a new deputy director added and four secretaries.

Retired RCMP Insp. Leigh DesRoches made 16 recommendations for the sheriff's department.

Staffing will be increased by 20 positions at the sheriff's office. Security screening will be tightened at the courts in St. John's and Corner Brook, and prisoner transfers will be reviewed.

The provincial government will invest an extra $13.5 million in the two departments over the next three years.

The provincial government will invest an additional $7.1 million in legal aid, $2.1 million of which will be funded through Budget 2014.

The remaining $6.4 million will be invested in the sheriff's office, $1.7 through Budget 2014.


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