The services of private practice lawyers may be used where the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission believes it would better serve the client.
The mission of Legal Aid Saskatchewan is to "promote access to justice for eligible persons through the provision of quality legal assistance." Legal Aid Saskatchewan is governed by the Saskatchewan Legal Aid Commission which was created through the provincial Legal Aid Act. This was created to provide legal services to persons and organizations for criminal and civil matters where those persons and organizations are financially unable to secure these services from their own resources. The organization has been in existence since 1974. The Saskatchewan Legal Aid Commission uses a salaried staff delivery model for most of its clients. It employs lawyers, legal assistants, legal secretaries and administrative staff located in offices throughout the province.
The Legal Aid Saskatchewan team works in 16 offices in 12 Centres across the province.
Until 1967, legal aid services were furnished by lawyers from private firms on a voluntary basis. In 1967, the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Attorney General established a legal aid plan for criminal offences, under which a nominal fee was paid to lawyers who handled criminal cases. In the early 1970s, the Saskatoon Legal Assistance Clinic had a strong impact on legal aid developments in the province. Its successful use of the staff system to deliver services led the 1972 Attorney General's Committee on Legal Aid (the Carter Committee) to recommend a staff system that emphasized community involvement. According to this recommendation, the Community Legal Services Act, passed in 1973, created the Saskatchewan Community Legal Services Commission. In September of 1983, the Legal Aid Act came into force. This legislation streamlined the administration of services by replacing area boards, which functioned under contractual agreements, with area offices operated and staffed by the newly-named Saskatchewan Legal Aid Commission. The Act was amended in 1989 to clarify the assessment and collection of contributions. New Regulations came into effect in February, 1995. The primary changes concerned contributions. In 2000, The Legal Aid Act was amended to remove choice of counsel for persons charged with murder and treason; and to separate the roles of Chair and Chief Executive Officer. In 2008, the Legal Aid Regulations were amended to remove the financial eligibility requirements for all individuals charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). All youth who fell within our range of service would be eligible for legal representation. In 2008 The Commission adopted a new name in order to better clarify the Board of Commissioners and the organization that provides the legal services. Legal Aid Saskatchewan was born.
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