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Canada chief justice decries high costs of access to justice

[JURIST] Canadian Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin [official profile] told the Canadian Bar Association [profession website] Saturday that access to the country's legal system needs to be more affordable. She said "the price of justice should not be so dear" and called access to justice a "basic right." In March, a Toronto Star investigation [Star report]revealed that a three-day civil trial in Ontario costs about $60,000. The Star has more.

In May, however, the Supreme Court of Canada [official website] unanimously ruled [JURIST report] that there exists no constitutional right to access legal services in Canada. The holding overturned two lower court decisions that had declared British Columbia's seven percent tax on legal fees unconstitutional because it made hiring a lawyer prohibitively expensive for low-income people.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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