Several defense lawyers demonstrated Monday morning in front of the Quebec courthouse to demand an increase in legal aid rates so that they are more representative of the workload to be accomplished.
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After the lawyers from the legal aid office who have used pressure tactics over the past few days, now the defense lawyers who are doing legal aid mandates are going on strike days.
Defense lawyers in private practice who carry out legal aid mandates have been complaining for several years about the obsolescence of the legal aid fee structure.
Last week, an Independent Task Force on Reforming the Legal Aid Fee Structure tabled a report with 181 recommendations welcomed by defense attorneys who now want the Justice Department to move forward.
"What we want is for the government to commit to implementing this report", Me Dominique Catin, president of the Association of Defense Lawyers of Quebec.
Without quantifying the requests, the lawyers want "the rates to be more representative of the work that is done".
Me Cantin, reminds that there are fewer and fewer lawyers who agree to do these mandates.
“Often the response of the government is to increase the scales. It's fine to increase the eligibility criteria, but if the person is not able to find a lawyer with these criteria, what happens?", explains the lawyer.
Other days of walkouts are planned in the coming weeks, which slows down the legal proceedings.