Criminal defence lawyer Kevin McCullough. (News files)

Victoria lawyer urges B.C. law society to make pro bono work mandatory

Resolution says justice system is “at a crisis level” in B.C.

A Victoria lawyer is urging his colleagues across the province to perform at least 10 hours of pro bono work per year to ensure all British Columbians are given access to a fair shot at justice.

Kevin McCullough, a criminal defence lawyer currently working with Andrew Berry, the Victoria man accused of killing his daughters Chloe and Aubrey Berry on Dec. 25, 2017 in Oak Bay, will put forward the resolution with colleague and fellow criminal lawyer, Danielle Young.

Calling it a “professional obligation” the pair want to see mandatory legal aid provided in criminal matters, family law and immigration refugee claims. Lawyers would contact the Legal Services Society to be assigned cases.

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In a statement on the Law Society of B.C. website, the resolution refers to the justice system as being “at a crisis level” and said First Nations people are “particularly disadvantaged by the access to justice crisis in B.C.”

“Justice is a fundamental human right, and that without meaningful access to justice the rule of law is threatened,” the statement reads.

The resolution would require an official amendment to the Rules of the Law Society.

RELATED: Lawyers champion more access to justice system

According to the statement, a similar resolution has previously been considered. “The conclusion has been that the provision of pro bono legal services is a tradition within the legal profession that is to be strongly encouraged but not a professional responsibility.”

The resolution will be presented Oct. 30 at the Law Society’s 2018 general meeting.


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