Legal Problems and the Poor

Published by: Canadian Forum on Civil Justice. Published on September 24, 2015.

Link to article

This article provides an overview of a national Canadian survey on the prevalence of legal needs. The survey finds that there is a large unmet need for legal services and that legal needs were concentrated among those who could not afford legal services, like low-income individuals.

Highlights include:

  • “The CFCJ survey also confirms that overall, there is a high prevalence of everyday legal problems within Canadian society, with 47% of all adult Canadians expected to experience one or more legal problem within a three-year period. For persons in households with yearly incomes of $20,000 or less, this number rises to 50.8%.”
  • “In 11 out of 17 legal problem categories, respondents from low income households have a higher occurrence of legal problems. These categories include consumer debt, social assistance, disability support, housing, police action, family (relationship breakdown), personal injury, medical treatment, threat of legal action, and problems with neighbours.”
  • “Legal aid is one of the most important institutions for meeting the legal needs of the poor in Canada. Most legal aid plans, however, provide little service in areas of law outside of criminal and family matters and, because of limited funding, struggle to sufficiently address deficiencies in other legal service areas.”


Categories: General/Unspecified Clients, International, Legal Aid Attorneys, News Media

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