Fasken Martineau Classroom, Room 122
Topic: Litigating for Access: Suing the Government over the Crisis in Family Law Legal Aid
Speakers: Kasari Govender, Executive Director, West Coast LEAF & Raji Mangat, Director of Litigation, West Coast LEAF
In April 2017, West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (“West Coast LEAF”) and the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (“BCPIAC”) launched a constitutional challenge against the family law legal aid regime in British Columbia. The case, brought on behalf of the Single Mothers’ Alliance BC and two individual women, is a challenge to the financial eligibility cut-offs and the cap on service hours as violating sections 15 and 7 of the Charter, and as contrary to access to justice under section 96 of the Constitution. This challenge is the culmination of West Coast LEAF’s decades-long work on advocating for equal and meaningful access for women seeking a just resolution to family law matters. This presentation provides background to the case, discusses challenges particular to litigating for access to justice, and reflects on feminist advocacy strategies employed by West Coast LEAF.