Jean Sorensen|Jun 7, 2011
A B.C. Supreme Court decision has posed an interesting debate: do legal aid rates provide the accused with a fair trial, and, the ability to assembling an adequate defence team? And, should the taxpayer bear the cost of an exhaustive defence team putting every aspect under a microscope when the average individual, unable to qualify for legal aid, could not afford such a protracted defence?
Pivotal to the issue is the public purse. Supreme Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein, in a recent decision in R. v. Bacon, criticized the B.C. attorney general for negotiating fees above those publicly posted by the Legal Services Society.
“But, sadly, when the Attorney General is approached for ‘special fees,’ and engages in negotiations with counsel who seek a richer deal, cost and common sense take a back seat. This is evidenced by the enormous legal fees paid in the past in the Air India, Pickton and Basi and Virk trials. The Attorney General has stated that a counsel rate of $250 per hour is unsustainable, in an apparent move to reign in public spending on legal fees. There seems to be little political or public appetite to perpetuate the process used to determine fees and number of counsel as has occurred in the past,” she said.
Andi Balla|Jun 7, 2011
If you are a legal professional looking for a job, chances are you are going to have a good third quarter.
n a report releasted today by Robert Half, 50 per cent of executives interviewed plan to add to the number of full-time employees who are legal professionals in the third quarter of 2011. Only one per cent plan to downsize. The data comes from the latest Robert Half Professional Employment Report.