[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.