GNWT to respond to UN finding within six months
Yellowknife, N.W.T. - The recent decision by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women against Behchoko's Cecelia Kell contains several recommendations in regards to legal aid.
To that end, the Department of Justice is planning on looking at them and seeing what can be done to improve the system, if anything.
The department's acting assistant deputy minister, Mark Aitken, said there have been changes made to the family legal aid system since Kell's case began back in the 1990's.
"Originally all the lawyers who serviced Miss Kell's matter were private lawyers and now the majority of, in fact I should say, all of the lawyers who are providing family services in the Northwest Territories for legal aid are staff lawyers," he said.
Aitken couldn't comment specifically on Kell's case, but he did say the legal aid changes were made because of pressures in the legal community.
He also said the department will carefully look at the recommendations and issue a report by the end of the calendar year.
"We have six months to make a response in conjunction with the housing corporation, the legal services board and the Government of Canada,” he said. "We will be looking at everything that is in the report."
Aitken added that any contact with the federal government will be on an as-needed basis.
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