News Release Archive

The Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission is putting in place a new
service that will ensure arrested or detained persons have access
to legal advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The service is designed to satisfy the individual's right to
counsel under Section 10(b) of the Charter of Rights and

Basically, the service means that after hours duty counsel is
available through a phone referral service. Once a police officer
has an individual in custody, the officer places a call to the
service, advising of the individual's name, and the nature of the
charges. The service then contacts an on-call member of the Nova
Scotia Barristers' Society. In turn, the lawyer contacts the
individual, to provide confidential legal advice.

The service ensures that there is rapid response to requests for
legal counsel, benefiting the accused, and ensuring that police
investigations are not hampered by delays in contacting legal

The service could guard against future difficulties in the
courts, as police officers will have an opportunity to note when
calls were made, and duration of calls to legal counsel.

"I believe this system is in the best interests of all
concerned," said Justice Minister Bill Gillis. "It helps those on
the front end of the justice system, and ensures accessibility to
counsel for the accused."

Bill Digby, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Commission said
the commission "is pleased to provide this necessary and valuable

The service is provided under contract to the commission, and
funding will come from within the Commission's existing budgets.
Legal counsel is being provided by members of the Nova Scotia
Barristers' Society who reside in the province.

The administrative functions are the responsibility of Lawline
Nova Scotia, a division of Lawline (Canada) Incorporated. Lawline
(Canada) Incorporated currently provide a similar service to
Ontario Legal Aid. The contract is in place until March 31, 1996.


Contact: Bill Digby  902-420-6555

trp                       Oct. 16, 1995