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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 140427 Find in a Library
Title: Paralegal Workers Improve Legal Aid Services to People in Remote Areas of Canada
Journal: Justice Research Notes  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1992)  Pages:5-10
Author(s): L D Sproule; P Doherty
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program Description (Demonstrative)
Format: Article
Language: English; French
Country: Canada
Annotation: Legal Aid Manitoba and the Legal Services Society of British Columbia began to address problems in providing legal services to northern and remote communities in Canada in the late 1980's by hiring paralegal workers in or very close to remote communities.
Abstract: In 1987, Legal Aid Manitoba hired two paralegal workers, both from the region and both fluent in Cree and English, to serve the four Cree communities of Cross Lake, Norway House, God's Lake Narrows, and Shamattawa. The workers were hired to improve the quality of legal services in circuit courts and to assist in interviewing clients for a range of civil and family matters. They also operated clinics in the four communities to provide initial advice and make referrals to Legal Aid Manitoba. An evaluation concluded that the project increased access to legal services, improved communication between lawyers and clients and between courts and clients, effectively expanded the use of civil and family law services, dramatically increased the number of users of drop-in and telephone advice, seemed to reduce the number of people on criminal dockets, and reduced the time required by Legal Aid Manitoba lawyers for each criminal case. Project weaknesses focused on the need for better front-end planning, the need for more training and supervision of paralegal workers, and the need to clarify the role of paralegals. Another project, Fort Nelson Legal Information Services, was established in 1986 to serve a town of about 3,500 people in the extreme northeastern corner of British Columbia. This project was evaluated in terms of direct service volume and types, public legal education, administration, accessibility, impact, and effectiveness. Ninety percent of clients served by the Fort Nelson project said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the direct services they received. Participants in public legal education workshops were also pleased with the experience. Points to consider in setting up paralegal programs in remote areas are noted.
Main Term(s): Legal aid services
Index Term(s): Canada; Foreign criminal justice systems
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