News Release Archive

  Justice Minister Bill Gillis and Mark McCrea, chairman of
  the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission, today announced a full
  review of the delivery of legal aid services in Nova Scotia.
  The review will examine the structure and practices of all
  aspects of legal aid to identify the most appropriate means
  to deliver services in light of current fiscal reality.
  The federal contribution to the total cost of legal aid is
  expected to decline as a result of the "broad range of
  spending reductions" announced in the last federal budget.
  While provincial support for legal aid has increased by 35
  per cent over the last five years, the provincial
  contribution must now be reduced in order to meet targets
  set in the provincial expenditure control plan, the minister
  said. The exact amount of the reduction depends upon
  federal/provincial negotiations now in progress.
  To protect basic services to clients, a review of all
  aspects of the service, including management and delivery
  models will be carried out.
  A project manager will be hired to facilitate the work of a
  project review team, which will include representatives of
  the Legal Aid Commission, the Department of Justice, the
  judiciary, and the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society. A
  request for proposals for this project management will be
  issued tomorrow (Nov. 22, 1995).
  "Our goal is to maintain services to clients," said Dr.
  Gillis. "That's why we want to review every aspect of the
  operation to find ways to become more efficient and
  effective with the resources available."
  Mr. McCrea as chairman of the legal aid commission and a
  member of the project review team, agreed that maintaining
  service to clients is crucial. "We have to look at new
  approaches, at new ways of delivering our service so that we
  can adapt to the climate of fiscal restraint."
  The current legal aid budget is approximately $10.6 million.
  Of this amount, the federal government contributes about 55
  per cent. Nova Scotia Legal Aid and Dalhousie Legal Aid
  provide criminal and civil legal services to qualified
  residents of Nova Scotia. The legal aid program is
  administered by the commission, which is an independent
  board appointed by both government and the barristers'
  The Department of Justice is funding the cost of the review,
  which is estimated at $50,000, It is expected to be
  completed by April 1, 1996.
  Contact: Michele McKinnon  902-424-6811
           Mark McCrea       902-897-2000
  trp                 Nov. 21, 1995