On May 13, 2002, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) held a conference on access to civil legal aid at Osgoode Hall in Toronto with approximately 60 attendees. Bringing together grass roots activists, lawyers and academics, the objectives of the conference were to share information from across the country and to develop strategies about court challenges, law reform initiatives and front-line efforts to expand access to civil legal aid.

In particular, the conference agenda posed the following questions:

This report is a summary of the consultation and provides a general overview of civil legal funding across the country, and a feminist legal analysis of the problems associated with the lack of availability of civil legal aid, and options for reform, both in terms of legislative reform and litigation strategies. The report will also address the impact of inadequate funding for civil legal aid, as well as the impact of any proposed reforms, on marginalized groups, including women of colour, immigrants, and the poor. Finally, the report will also include the results of the consultation workshops on lobbying and front-line strategies, as well as litigation strategies.

The conference was generously funded by the Court Challenges Program of
Canada through its Case Development Fund.

The document was prepared by Lisa Addario.

Download the report below.