The longer someone spends in custody waiting for a bail hearing or trial, the more likely it is they will plead guilty just to get out of jail – even if they’re innocent.
The legal health check-up (LHC) is a uniquely valuable tool for documenting unmet legal need at a very fine-grained local level. The LHC questionnaire is administered by community groups and service agencies to people seeking their services. Individuals who request service from the legal clinic are referred to the clinic. The LHC form becomes the basis for a dialogue between the clinic staff and the individual, laying the groundwork for a more holistic and integrated service that would otherwise not have occurred with an intake process focussing on only one presenting problem.
Even before Kimberly Roach started co-leading Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) Racialized Communities Strategy, she saw firsthand the need for a strategy to address the needs of racialized communities.
The Community Legal Clinic—Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, has been using the Legal Health Check-Up (LHC) to help clients with unrecognized legal problems since participating in the tool’s pilot project.
The Halton Legal Health Check-Up demonstrates what communities can do to address the gap between legal aid resources and the extent and depth of legal need.
Lawyers and social workers bring very different approaches to frontline client service but does that mean that the two professions should never meet?
The Supreme Court of Canada has refused the most vulnerable people in our society the opportunity to have their claims that the government is violating their human rights heard in court. Shocking, but true.Tracy Heffernan was co-counsel in Tanudjaja v. Canada and program director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. Her centre organized the Right to Housing Coalition of people from many backgrounds and expertise, including people with lived experience of homelessness or of being inadequately housed, community organizations, advocacy groups and academics.
Available in paper or electronic form, the Legal Health Check-Up gives trusted intermediaries like Michael a list of questions to ask the client in the areas of income, housing, employment, education and health to identity the common legal problems of people living in poverty. Colleen Sym is the Executive Director/Lawyer at Halton Community Legal Services, a community legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario..
How does legal aid work in other jurisdictions? LAO asked the Montana Legal Services Association for its perspective. Alison Paul is the executive director of MLSA.
Community legal clinics, with help from Legal Aid Ontario’s Clinic Resource Office, have had great success in challenging the manner in which the provincial government dispenses the special diet allowance. Lesli Bisgould is the Barrister at LAO’s Clinic Resource Office.
In our view, this case raises critical issues of access to justice under the Charter. Our next step is to seek leave to appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada. Tracy Heffernan is co-counsel in Tanudjaja v. Canada and program director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. Her centre initiated the Right to Housing Coalition. Coalition members are people from many backgrounds and expertise, including people with lived experience of homelessness or of being inadequately housed, community organizations, advocacy groups and academics.