Legal Representation Of Canada And Canada Essay

Legal Representation Of Canada And Canada Essay

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You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you. We’ve all heard this before, innumerable times in police shows, but what many Canadians don’t realize is that it is not true in Canada. In Canada you do not have an automatic right to legal representation. This is something that a British Columbia woman, named Dale Fotsch, found out the hard way, says Tomlinson. (2012) After going through the long process of a court case in Canada, she had finally won the case against her common law husband, who was suing her. What she thought was a win, turned very rapidly into quite a loss. The loss came, when she was faced with a $180,00 lawyer’s bill. Being that she was now a single mother living alone with her son, with a modest income, it wasn’t feasible for her to be able to pay the bill. That meant that her lawyer sued her, and her house was foreclosed upon in order to cover the fees. Losing her house, the exact situation that she went to court to avoid in the first place. Fotsch said in an interview, “she understands her responsibility to pay what is due, but a legal system that allows her to win her cause and then lose her home, is perverse”. Unfortunately this case is far from unique. In family court, 46 % of the hearings are self represented and worse than that, 97 % of magistrates say that the self represented cases have had a negative impact on the court and how the court works. (McClenaghan, 2014)
Our society is seeing more and more cases where an innocent person is being forced into self representation which Judith McCormack, the executive director of downtown legal services in Toronto, says is, “like doing your own dental work or heart surgery,” she tells us “It’s a desperate respon...


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.... Surely our society must put the value of quality of life of our citizens, and the value of justice, over the value of money.
When the idea of medicare was founded, Canadians strongly supported the concept, because as a country we believe that you shouldn’t die because you can’t afford medical treatment, and that your access to healthcare should depend on your need not your wallet. Surely the same principle applies when we are dealing with other rights, justice fundamental; the right to not be convicted of a crime, to keep your house, to see your children.
Guaranteed legal representation as a step, is the direction our country needs to take in order to ensure that our justice system is not just for the wealthy. Ms. Fotsch deserved justice as a citizen in Canada, as do we all. A justice system that denies so many of its people access, is no justice system at all.

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