Legal Aid Leader
The Canadian Bar Association’s Legal Aid Liaison Committee is proud to announce Deanna Ludowicz as a recipient of the Legal Aid Leader Award.
Our most recent Legal Aid Leader, Deanna Ludowicz has spent her legal career assisting clients in need. She has built a reputation as an advocate for those who have no advocate and for encouraging others to promote and defend the legal aid system.
Ms. Ludowicz has been involved with every level of legal aid in British Columbia; as a staff lawyer at the Upper Skeena Counseling and Legal Aid Society in Hazelton, BC and in Grand Forks, as a sole practitioner, as a Legal Services Society Area Director and as a local agent. In 2009 she was appointed to the Board of Legal Services Society by the Law Society of British Columbia, serving as vice-chair of the society (2010-11) and member of the executive committee.
Ms. Ludowicz actively contributes to her community through her volunteer activities, as a member of the Provincial Council of the Canadian Bar Association: BC Branch, as the Director of the Abbeyfield Centennial Housing Society which provides housing to seniors in need, by teaching law courses at the local college and by giving lectures in wills and estates law for the “peoples’ law school”.
Prior to launching her legal career, Ms. Ludowicz spent 10 years as an anthropologist and archaeologist working with aboriginal groups in northern B.C. Her discovery of a 6,000 year old arrow head helped bolster the land claims of the Gitxsan First Nation.
The CBA is happy to announce the release of Moving Forward on Legal Aid: Research on Needs and Innovative Approaches. As part of the CBA’s current look at renewing our approach to advancing access to justice, we commissioned Melina Buckley, LL.B., Ph.D., to prepare this report for the CBA. She considered the current state of legal aid, both in Canada and internationally, and also innovative approaches to delivering access to justice. Dr. Buckley’s report provides a unique and important summary of policy developments and current research, new delivery options, and an overview of recent legal aid initiatives. It concludes with suggestions for future CBA efforts to improve access to justice. We expect that those suggestions will be helpful in informing the work of the Association for years to come.
Years of cutbacks has left Canada’s legal aid system in crisis. The CBA has launched a major national initiative to raise awareness of the importance of adequate legal aid services to our system of justice and to try to resolve the crisis.
The CBA believes that lawyers have a responsibility to:
- actively support legal aid programs;
- speak out against threats to government-funded counsel, including underfunding of legal services and funding cutbacks; and
- contribute to a positive dialogue on how to improve legal aid service delivery.
The CBA has five-point platform on legal aid reform:
- Legal aid should be recognized as an essential public service, like health care.
- Public funding should be confirmed as necessary to ensure access to justice for low-income people.
- Public funding for legal aid must be increased.
- National standards for criminal and civil legal aid coverage and eligibility criteria are required.
- The federal government should revitalize its commitment to legal aid.
Legal Aid in Canada (additional information)