A Study on Legal Aid and Official Languages in Canada

Appendix B - INTERVIEW GUIDE LAWYERS, CROWN AND JUDICIARY

Legal Aid and Official Languages in Canada
Lawyers, Crown and Judiciary.

The Department of Justice Canada has recently launched a nation-wide study on the use of both official languages in the provision of legal aid services. The objectives of this study are:

  • To identify the policies and practices that are currently in place within legal aid plans regarding the provision of legal aid services in both official languages.
  • To identify the difficulties that clients may encounter in accessing legal aid services in their official language of choice.
  • To determine the increased level of service that may be required in order to ensure access to legal aid services in both official languages, and the cost of these increased levels of service.

While not excluding issues surrounding civil and family matters, the focus of this research is on issues pertaining to criminal matters.

The following questions cover issues relating to the legal aid services currently offered in the official language of the minority, the need for these services, the challenges to the provision of these services, and possible initiatives and their associated costs.

Services offered in the official language of the minority

  • 1. Based on your experience, how would you describe the overall capacity of legal aid to provide services in the official language of the minority? Are you aware of any services provided in the official language of the minority in any of the following areas:
    • Duty counsel?
    • Brydges representation?
    • Representation for criminal matters?
    • Representation for civil and family matters?
    • Information services/Information line?
    • Advice and assistance?
    • Other?
  • 2. In your opinion, what are the gaps in the range of legal aid services and resources available in the official language of the minority? Do you feel that some of these gaps should be addressed in priority? If so, which one(s)?

Need for legal aid services in the official language of the minority

  • 3. In your opinion, how important is it that legal aid clients receive services in their official language of choice? How would you describe the impact on the court system of not providing this service (delays in procedures, translation costs, etc)?
  • 4. In what ways would you say the provision of legal aid services in the language of the minority might be beneficial to clients (understanding of procedures, communication between lawyer and client, results of case, etc)? What are the consequences on the individuals, if any, of not providing legal aid services in both official languages?

Challenges to the provision of legal aid services in both official languages

  • 5. Can you identify barriers that may prevent the provision or expansion of legal aid services in the official language of choice (systemic barriers, linguistic barriers, financial barriers, etc)?
  • 6. Based on the legal aid delivery model in your province (staff lawyers vs. judicare), what would you say are the challenges that exist in relation to the provision or expansion of legal aid services in the official language of the minority (staffing challenges, model requirements, budget constraints, etc)?

Initiatives and Associated costs

  • 7. In your opinion, what changes, if any, should be made in order to ensure that legal aid services be available in the official language of choice?
  • 8. Based on your experience, if additional funding was provided for your proposed changes, what would you say are the most important challenges in implementing these changes?

Conclusion

  • 9. Do you have any other comments?

Your participation is greatly appreciated!

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