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Legal Aid Demand Rises Amid Rate Freeze

May 2, 2024

In January 2021, the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission approved a report that
recommended an increase to the hourly rates for legal aid certificates, but the Houston
government has yet to act.

Legal aid certificate tariff rates in Nova Scotia have not increased since 2014 and are amongst the lowest in the country. Between 2020 and 2023, the number of legal aid certificates issued to private lawyers in Nova Scotia decreased 13.6 per cent.

“Private lawyers deserve to be fairly compensated for legal aid certificates and required prep time,” said Opposition Leader, Zach Churchill. “We’re already dealing with a backlog of cases because of delayed judicial appointments and shortages of prosecutors and court staff. The Houston government needs to make improving our justice system a priority.”

According to the most recent annual report from Nova Scotia Legal Aid, the overall number of applications for legal aid services increased 8.3 per cent year over year.

“Having less legal aid certificates and increasing demand for legal aid services will result in our most vulnerable being unable access to the legal representation they need,” said Justice Critic, Iain Rankin. “In other provinces, governments have stepped up with additional funding to ensure all aspects of the justice system are funded. Nova Scotia should do the same.”

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