A team of Pro Bono Students Canada from the Law Faculty at the University of Ottawa will be monitoring different provincial legal aid regimes as they relate to family law.
After a decade of cuts and restrictions, there is definitely a legal aid crisis across Canada. Women going through separation and divorce proceedings are often left without any legal representation or advice. This is particularly difficult in a context of custody and access litigation, and in cases where violence or power imbalances are involved. This cut in family law legal aid has been accompanied by a push in favour of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The ADR mechanisms often place women in a very vulnerable position, where they “agree” to bargain away their rights without knowing what their entitlements are in reality. This research will help NAWL in its pan-canadian campaign in favour of increased federal funding for civil legal aid.