With Alberta’s current economic climate, an increased number of people are accessing the legal system to address legal charges and offenses. The clients who are most affected by the complexity of our judicial system are those living in poverty. As a result, they do not have equitable access to the necessary legal resources and representation to support them through their legal matters.
Those involved in the legal system often struggle with multiple barriers that limit their ability to navigate the legal system and processes effectively. Individuals lacking the necessary understanding of their legal matters often attempt to address their charges or offences without legal representation or resources. Pleading guilty without a proper understanding of the consequences or alternatives to addressing charges usually has long term negative impact.
A number of EFry clients have language or cultural barriers that make it difficult to comprehend the legal processes. This impedes their ability to address their charges and achieve the best possible outcomes. EFry fills a gap in a complex system by assisting with understanding legal forms, filing processes and referrals to legal resources.
The economic downturn has increased the number of domestic violence matters seen in both Calgary and Regional courts. This has resulted in a greater number of emergency parenting and protection orders being requested in our Legal Advocacy programs. An increase of immigrant women seeking assistance with divorce applications has been noted since 2016. Many Indigenous women face challenges with navigating the complexity of the legal system and have benefited from individualized assistance to appropriately address their legal matters.
Our Solution: Court and Legal Advocacy Programs
Equitable access to justice is a crisis that continues to be a problem for those living under the poverty line. Canada’s pledge of equal justice under the law is one that we as a community must mutually support and promote. EFry needs the support of legal professionals to contribute to these efforts. With demanding and busy practices, we must work together as a legal community to solve this critical issue.
Our Legal Advocacy and Court Programs increase access to justice for those who need it most. EFry provide support to those that struggle with multiple barriers that have decreased chances of positive results when attempting to address their legal matters independently, through our court programs and legal advocacy programs.Partnerships with law firms will help us continue to offer programs to address the need for equitable access to justice for all.
Together, we can break barriers and build bridges for Calgary’s marginalized people. To learn more about giving opportunities with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-294-0737.