Legal Aid Alberta increases access to justice through essential changes to client eligibility



    EDMONTON, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - More Albertans will be eligible for legal aid
coverage with the introduction of new guidelines by Legal Aid Alberta.
    "Alberta's thriving economy has resulted in increased wages, and with
that comes an increased cost of living. Changes to Legal Aid Alberta's
guidelines will enable more of the working poor to access essential legal
services." said Alison Redford, Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
    "We are seeing more unrepresented people in the courts and broadening
legal aid financial guidelines will help Albertans who need assistance better
navigate the justice system."
    Currently, Legal Aid Alberta's Financial Eligibility Guidelines are based
on gross income. The new guidelines, in addition to increasing the qualifying
income levels, will focus on an applicant's net income, allowing Legal Aid
Alberta to apply a principled approach to client eligibility.
    "With our new guidelines, Legal Aid Alberta's aim is to assess our
client's true ability to pay for a lawyer. The key question is, 'Can this
person of limited means afford to hire a lawyer?' Net income will allow us to
truly assess our clients' financial circumstances," said Glenda Graham, Chair
of the Board of Directors of Legal Aid Alberta. "Every person, regardless of
their financial situation, has the right to equal access to the protection and
benefits of the law. Changes to our guidelines will mean greater access to
justice for an additional 6400 Albertans."
    The new guidelines are a part of Legal Aid Alberta's overall mission to
provide a range of innovative and cost effective legal services for people in
need throughout Alberta.
    For more information on Legal Aid Alberta, please visit
www.legalaid.ab.ca.

    About Legal Aid Alberta

    Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) works to provide a continuum of innovative and
cost effective legal services for people in need throughout Alberta. LAA was
officially established on July 1, 1970 by an agreement between the Law Society
of Alberta and the provincial Attorney General. For more information about
Legal Aid Alberta and its many services please visit www.legalaid.ab.ca





For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Fowler, Director, Communications,
Legal Aid Alberta, (780) 427-8742, Cell: (780) 233-6521, Email:
jfowler@legalaid.ab.ca, Web: www.legalaid.ab.ca; Or Carla Kolke, Justice
Communications, (780) 427-8530, ckolke@gov.ab.ca

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LEGAL AID ALBERTA

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