Legal Aid Program Evaluation, Final Report

Appendix A: Data Collection Instruments

Legal Aid Program Evaluation
Key Informant Interview Guide
Provincial/Territorial Justice Representatives

Introduction

The Department of Justice Canada (DOJ) is required to conduct an impact evaluation of the Federal Legal Aid Program (LAP) as part of its reporting requirement to the Treasury Board Secretariat. The evaluation is focused on the LAP and not the provincial and territorial delivery of legal aid. The evaluation covers the five components of the LAP: 1) Base Funding (federal contribution funding for criminal and youth criminal justice legal aid in the provinces / criminal, youth criminal justice and civil legal aid in the territories); 2) immigration and refugee (I&R) legal aid funding; 3) Public Security and Anti-terrorism (PSAT) legal aid funding; 4) funded counsel for court-ordered counsel in federal prosecutions (COCFP); and 5) secretariat for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Permanent Working Group (FPT PWG) on Legal Aid.

The intent of the impact evaluation is primarily to assess the following:

  • Alignment of the LAP's objectives with the DOJ, the federal government, priorities of the FPT PWG, and the public's interest.
  • Contribution of the LAP to the availability of criminal, I&R and PSAT legal aid services (and civil legal aid in the territories) and funded counsel in COCFP cases - and long-term outcomes.
  • Effectiveness of collaboration between the federal government and the provinces and territories.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of the LAP.

We are asking various groups of stakeholders to participate in the impact evaluation, including representatives of the DOJ and other federal departments, provincial and territorial governments, legal aid plans, and other justice professionals (judges, Crown prosecutors and defence counsel). The information we gather will be summarized in aggregate form. Interview notes will not be shared outside of PRA Inc. and the Department of Justice's Evaluation Division.

Relevance

  • 1. From your perspective, what are the current priorities of legal aid? Have legal aid priorities changed over the past five years for:
    • the provinces and territories?
    • the legal aid plans?
    • the federal government?
  • 2. To what extent do the five components of the LAP address these priorities?

Criminal Legal Aid

  • 3. Have the nature or type of criminal legal aid needs of eligible clients changed over the past five years? (If yes) How have the legal aid needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 4. Over the past five years, have you noticed a difference in the proportion of accused who are eligible for criminal legal aid? (If yes) Can you explain what these differences are? And can you explain why they are occurring?
  • 5. Over the past five years, has there been a change in the proportion of unrepresented accused? (If yes) Is there evidence of these changes and, if so, what evidence?
  • 6. How does the federal government's actions (e.g., through new legislation, regulations, etc.) affect the demand for and cost of criminal legal aid? What other factors also affect the demand and cost of criminal legal aid services?
  • 7. In your opinion, to what extent does the level of the federal contribution affect availability of criminal legal aid and legal aid services in general? What effect does this have on the provinces and territories?

Civil Legal Aid

For territories only
  • 8. Have the nature or type of civil legal aid needs of eligible clients changed over the past five years? (If yes) How have the legal aid needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 9. How does the federal government's actions (e.g., through new legislation, regulations) affect the demand for and cost of civil legal aid? What other factors also affect the demand for and cost of civil legal aid services?
  • 10. In your opinion, to what extent does the level of the federal contribution affect availability of civil legal aid and legal aid services in general? What effect does this have on the territories?
  • 11. Over the past five years, have you noticed a difference in the ability to find lawyers willing to handle civil legal aid cases? (If yes) Can you explain what these differences are? And can you explain why they are occurring?

Immigration and Refugee Legal Aid

For jurisdictions that provide legal aid representation for I&R matters
  • 12. Over the past five years, what trends in demand for I&R legal aid have occurred in your jurisdiction? Have the legal needs of eligible clients changed? If so, how have needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 13. What challenges are there to providing I&R legal aid in this jurisdiction? Please explain.
  • 14. If the I&R component of the LAP did not exist, how would economically disadvantaged individuals in I&R cases be handled?
For jurisdictions that do not provide legal aid representation in I&R matters
  • 15. What are the reasons your plan does not currently provide legal aid representation in I&R matters?
  • 16. In your view, is there a need for I&R legal aid in this jurisdiction? (If yes) What evidence is there of this need?
For all jurisdictions
  • 17. Do you think I&R legal aid services ought to be handled differently? Should federal I&R legal aid funding be handled differently by the LAP? (If yes) Please explain what changes you think are necessary, and why.

COCFP and PSAT

  • 18. How are COCFP and PSAT matters handled by this jurisdiction? Please describe any challenges that you are aware of in providing these services.
  • 19. If the COCFP and PSAT components of the LAP did not exist, how would economically disadvantaged individuals in COCFP and PSAT cases be handled?

Efficiency and Economy

  • 20. Can you suggest any changes in the legal aid system that would improve the efficiency of legal aid representation in criminal cases and (for the territories) in civil cases? In I&R cases? In COCFP and PSAT cases?
  • 21. Given the current level of federal financial support, what changes (if any) have been made by the provinces and territories to maintain services to clients?

Role of FPT PWG

  • 22. In your opinion, is there sufficient information sharing and policy development among the federal government, the provinces and territories, and the legal aid plans? (If yes) How is this process facilitated? (If no) What problems exist? How could information sharing and policy development be improved?
  • 23. Please describe any evidence of benefits resulting from the existence of the FPT PWG. Can you describe any limitations and, if so, what changes would you suggest?

Thank you for your participation.

Legal Aid Program Impact Evaluation
Key Informant Interview Guide
Legal Aid Plans

Introduction

The Department of Justice Canada (DOJ) is required to conduct an impact evaluation of the Federal Legal Aid Program (LAP) as part of its reporting requirement to the Treasury Board Secretariat. The evaluation is focused on the LAP and not the provincial and territorial delivery of legal aid. The evaluation covers the five components of the LAP: 1) Base Funding (federal contribution funding for criminal and youth criminal justice legal aid in the provinces / criminal, youth criminal justice and civil legal aid in the territories); 2) immigration and refugee (I&R) legal aid funding; 3) Public Security and Anti-terrorism (PSAT) legal aid funding; 4) funded counsel for court-ordered counsel in federal prosecutions (COCFP); and 5) secretariat for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Permanent Working Group (FPT PWG) on Legal Aid.

The intent of the impact evaluation is primarily to assess the following:

  • Alignment of the LAP's objectives with the DOJ, the federal government, priorities of the FPT PWG, and the public's interest.
  • Contribution of the LAP to the availability of criminal, I&R and PSAT legal aid services (and civil legal aid in the territories) and funded counsel in COCFP cases - and long-term outcomes.
  • Effectiveness of collaboration between the federal government and the provinces and territories.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of the LAP.

We are asking various groups of stakeholders to participate in the impact evaluation, including representatives of the DOJ and other federal departments, provincial and territorial governments, legal aid plans, and other justice professionals (judges, Crown prosecutors and defence counsel). The information we gather will be summarized in aggregate form. Interview notes will not be shared outside of PRA Inc. and the Department of Justice's Evaluation Division.

Relevance

  • 1. From your perspective, what are the current priorities of legal aid? Have legal aid priorities changed over the past five years for:
    • the legal aid plans?
    • the provinces and territories?
    • the federal government?
  • 2. To what extent do the five components of the LAP address these priorities?

Criminal Legal Aid

  • 3. Have the nature or type of criminal legal aid needs of eligible clients changed over the past five years? (If yes) How have the needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 4. Over the past five years, have you noticed a difference in the proportion of accused who are eligible for criminal legal aid? (If yes) Can you explain what these differences are? And can you explain why they are occurring?
  • 5. Over the past five years, has there been a change in the proportion of unrepresented accused? (If yes) Is there evidence of these changes and, if so, what evidence?
  • 6. How do the federal government's actions (e.g., through new legislation, regulations, etc.) affect the demand for and cost of criminal legal aid? What other factors also affect the demand and cost of criminal legal aid services?
  • 7. In your opinion, to what extent does the level of the federal contribution affect availability of criminal legal aid and legal aid services in general?

Civil Legal Aid

For territories only
  • 8. Have the nature or type of civil legal aid needs of eligible clients changed over the past five years? (If yes) How have the legal aid needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 9. How does the federal government's actions (e.g., through new legislation, regulations) affect the demand for and cost of civil legal aid? What other factors also affect the demand for and cost of civil legal aid services?
  • 10. In your opinion, to what extent does the level of the federal contribution affect availability of civil legal aid and legal aid services in general? What effect does this have on the territories?
  • 11. Over the past five years, have you noticed a difference in the ability to find lawyers willing to handle civil legal aid cases? (If yes) Can you explain what these differences are? And can you explain why they are occurring?

Immigration and Refugee Legal Aid

For plans that provide legal aid representation for I&R matters
  • 12. Over the past five years, what trends in demand for I&R legal aid have occurred in your jurisdiction? Have the legal needs of eligible clients changed? If so, how have needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 13. What challenges are there to providing I&R legal aid in this jurisdiction? Please explain.
  • 14. If the I&R component of the LAP did not exist, how would economically disadvantaged individuals in I&R cases be handled?
For plans that do not provide legal aid representation in I&R matters
  • 15. What are the reasons your plan does not currently provide legal aid representation in I&R matters?
  • 16. In your view, is there a need for I&R legal aid in this jurisdiction? (If yes) What evidence is there of this need?
For all plans
  • 17. Do you think I&R legal aid services ought to be handled differently? Should federal I&R legal aid funding be handled differently by the LAP? (If yes) Please explain what changes you think are necessary, and why.

COCFP and PSAT

  • 18. How are COCFP and PSAT matters handled in this jurisdiction, if at all? Please describe any challenges to providing these services.
  • 19. If the COCFP and PSAT components of the LAP did not exist, how would economically disadvantaged individuals in COCFP and PSAT cases be handled?

Efficiency and Economy

  • 20. Can you suggest any changes in the legal aid system that would improve the efficiency of legal aid representation in criminal cases and (for the territories) in civil cases? In I&R cases? In COCFP and PSAT cases?
  • 21. Given the current level of federal financial support, what changes (if any) have been made to maintain services to clients?

Role of FPT PWG

  • 22. In your opinion, is there sufficient information sharing and policy development among the federal government, the provinces and territories, and the legal aid plans? (If yes) How is this process facilitated? (If no) What problems exist? How could information sharing and policy development be improved?
  • 23. Please describe any evidence of benefits resulting from the existence of the FPT PWG. Can you describe any limitations and, if so, what changes would you suggest?

Thank you for your participation.

Legal Aid Program Impact Evaluation
Key Informant Interview Guide
Department of Justice Representatives

Introduction

The Department of Justice Canada (DOJ) is required to conduct an impact evaluation of the Federal Legal Aid Program (LAP) as part of its reporting requirement to the Treasury Board Secretariat. The evaluation is focused on the LAP and not the provincial and territorial delivery of legal aid. The evaluation covers the five components of the LAP: 1) Base Funding (federal contribution funding for criminal and youth criminal justice legal aid in the provinces / criminal, youth criminal justice and civil legal aid in the territories); 2) immigration and refugee (I&R) legal aid funding; 3) Public Security and Anti-terrorism (PSAT) legal aid funding; 4) funded counsel for court-ordered counsel in federal prosecutions (COCFP); and 5) secretariat for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Permanent Working Group (FPT PWG) on Legal Aid.

The intent of the impact evaluation is primarily to assess the following:

  • Alignment of the LAP's objectives with the DOJ, the federal government, priorities of the FPT PWG, and the public's interest.
  • Contribution of the LAP to the availability of criminal, I&R and PSAT legal aid services (and civil legal aid in the territories) and funded counsel in COCFP cases - and long-term outcomes.
  • Effectiveness of collaboration between the federal government and the provinces and territories.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of the LAP.

We are asking various groups of stakeholders to participate in the impact evaluation, including representatives of the DOJ and other federal departments, provincial and territorial governments, legal aid plans, and other justice professionals (judges, Crown prosecutors and defence counsel). The information we gather will be summarized in aggregate form. Interview notes will not be shared outside of PRA Inc. and the Department of Justice's Evaluation Division.

Relevance

  • 1. From your perspective, what are the current priorities of legal aid? Have legal aid priorities changed over the past five years for:
    • the legal aid plans?
    • the provinces and territories?
    • the federal government?
  • 2. To what extent do the five components of the LAP address these priorities?

Criminal Legal Aid

  • 3. Have the nature or type of criminal legal aid needs of eligible clients changed over the past five years? (If yes) How have the needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 4. Over the past five years, have you noticed a difference in the proportion of accused who are eligible for criminal legal aid? (If yes) Can you explain what these differences are? And can you explain why they are occurring?
  • 5. Over the past five years, has there been a change in the proportion of unrepresented accused? (If yes) Is there evidence of these changes and, if so, what evidence?
  • 6. How does the federal government's actions (e.g., through new legislation, regulations, etc.) affect the demand for and cost of criminal legal aid? What other factors also affect the demand and cost of criminal legal aid services?
  • 7. In your opinion, to what extent does the level of the federal contribution affect availability of criminal legal aid and legal aid services in general?

Civil Legal Aid

Please consider the provision of civil legal aid in the territories in answering these questions

  • 8. Have the nature or type of civil legal aid needs of eligible clients changed over the past five years? (If yes) How have the legal aid needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 9. How does the federal government's actions (e.g., through new legislation, regulations) affect the demand for and cost of civil legal aid? What other factors also affect the demand for and cost of civil legal aid services?
  • 10. In your opinion, to what extent does the level of the federal contribution affect availability of civil legal aid and legal aid services in general? What effect does this have on the territories?
  • 11. Over the past five years, have you noticed a difference in the ability to find lawyers willing to handle civil legal aid cases? (If yes) Can you explain what these differences are? And can you explain why they are occurring?

Immigration and Refugee Legal Aid

  • 12. Over the past five years, what trends in demand for I&R legal aid have occurred? Have the legal needs of eligible clients changed? If so, how have needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  • 13. What challenges are there to providing I&R legal aid? Why have some jurisdictions opted not to provide I&R legal aid? Please explain.
  • 14. If the I&R component of the LAP did not exist, how would economically disadvantaged individuals in I&R cases be handled?
  • 15. Do you think I&R services ought to be handled differently? Should federal I&R legal aid funding be handled differently by the LAP? (If yes) Please explain what changes you think are necessary, and why.

COCFP and PSAT

  • 16. How are COCFP and PSAT matters handled by the jurisdictions? Please describe any challenges that you are aware of in providing these services.
  • 17. If the COCFP and PSAT components of the LAP did not exist, how would economically disadvantaged individuals in COCFP and PSAT cases be handled?

Efficiency and Economy

  • 18. Can you suggest any changes in the legal aid system that would improve the efficiency of legal aid representation in criminal cases and (for the territories) in civil cases? In I&R cases? In COCFP and PSAT cases?
  • 19. Given the current level of federal financial support, what changes (if any) have been made by the legal aid plans to maintain services to clients?

Role of FPT PWG

  • 20. In your opinion, is there sufficient information sharing and policy development among the federal government, the provinces and territories, and the legal aid plans? (If yes) How is this process facilitated? (If no) What problems exist? How could information sharing and policy development be improved?
  • 21. Please describe any evidence of benefits resulting from the existence of the FPT PWG. Can you describe any limitations and, if so, what changes would you suggest?

Thank you for your participation.

Legal Aid Program Impact Evaluation
Key Informant Interview Guide
Justice Professionals

Introduction

The Department of Justice Canada is required to conduct an impact evaluation of the federal Legal Aid Program as part of its reporting requirement to the Treasury Board Secretariat. As part of the evaluation, we would like to better understand the issue of unrepresented accused in the criminal justice system. We are interviewing approximately 50 judges, Crown prosecutors and criminal defence counsel across Canada to provide the perspective of criminal justice professionals.

The interview will be conducted by telephone and is expected to take approximately 30 minutes to complete. PRA Inc. will treat your responses as confidential and will report on them only in aggregate form. At the conclusion of the study, the Evaluation Division will receive the interview notes with all identifying information removed.

  1. Over the past five years, has the proportion of unrepresented accused increased, decreased, or stayed the same? (If applicable) In your opinion, what are the primary reasons for any change? Please explain the basis for your opinion.
  2. Over the past five years, has the number of Rowbotham applications in your jurisdiction increased, decreased, or stayed the same? (If applicable) To what do you attribute that change?
  3. Over the course of a criminal case, are there certain points when accused are most likely to be unrepresented? Are there certain points when they are most likely to have counsel?
    1. a. (If applicable) Please explain why accused are more likely to be unrepresented at different points in the criminal justice process.
    2. b. Based on your experience, approximately what percentage of accused are unrepresented at all of their appearances?
  4. (Defence counsel only) Have the nature or type of criminal legal aid needs of eligible clients changed over the past five years? (If yes) How have the needs changed and what factors do you think are responsible?
  5. What are the most common legal consequences that accused experience when they are not represented by counsel? Please consider from the time of arrest to sentencing and explain your response.
  6. What are the most common negative or positive effects of unrepresented accused on the functioning of the criminal justice system? Please answer based on your experience and explain your response.
  7. What suggestions do you have for addressing the issue of unrepresented accused?

Thank you for your participation.

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