The PLEA: Canada's Legal System: An Introduction

The PLEA: Canada's Legal System: An Introduction

The Role of Lawyers

Not all problems are law-related. Therefore, the law cannot solve every problem. Because lawyers are trained experts in the law, they will know if a problem is related to the law. When a problem is law-related, lawyers can offer help.

Lawyers help people with legal issues ranging from writing a will to settling disputes. Lawyers also play an important role in the justice system when they help clients present their cases in court.

People can choose whether or not to have a lawyer represent them in court. If they do not have a lawyer, they will have to do everything that a lawyer would do.
For example, they will need to learn about:

  • the court system
  • court procedures, including the forms that must be used to move the case through the court system
  • the law that applies to their case
  • the evidence they need to prove their case
  • what will happen if they win or lose their case

Court trials can be difficult. Some areas of the law are very complex and there are strict rules for evidence and procedures. It is a good idea for people to talk with a lawyer before deciding whether to represent themselves in court. This is especially true if they have been charged with a crime since one’s reputation and even freedom may be at stake.

Consider: Access to Justice

Sometimes, the right information can resolve a law-related problem. Other times, a problem is more complex and requires a lawyer. Unfortunately, people cannot always afford lawyers. This is why free information and assistance is available for people needing access to legal services.

For example, Legal Aid is a government program that offers assistance to people who cannot afford a lawyer. Legal Aid provides lawyers for most criminal and family law matters.

Sometimes, people do not qualify for Legal Aid but still need a lawyer. When this is the case, Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan facilitates free legal clinics in various communities across the province. Free legal clinics are often staffed by volunteer lawyers.

Sometimes, a problem can be resolved with the right information. That is why PLEA provides free information on a wide variety of legal topics, from basic information on how courts work to a self-help website for family law issues.

These supports exist so people have access to justice. However, Canada still could work towards improving access to justice.

As the system exists now, Canadians must wait long times before their case is heard in court.

As well, many Canadians cannot afford a lawyer but do not qualify for Legal Aid. And frequently, Pro Bono programs are unable to provide enough help. Often, people facing some of these obstacles go to court without the help of a lawyer. Other times, they give up entirely.

  1. Some small legal problems that end up in court do not necessarily require a lawyer. Where can people learn basic information on legal topics?
  2. Why is access to justice important for maintaining a free and fair society?