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Unit 2: Criminal Law

CHAPTER 7: BRINGING THE ACCUSED TO TRIAL

E-ACTIVITY: THE LEGAL AID PROCESS (p. 203)

Activity: Play a Legal Aid Game

Everyone is entitled to a defence in the trial process. But what if you cannot afford to pay a lawyer? Legal aid provides legal services to anyone who cannot afford the basic legal assistance he or she needs. How does the program work? Would you meet the requirements for representation by a legal aid lawyer?

To learn more about the legal aid process and the eligibility requirements, you will prepare for and participate in a legal aid game. Begin by finding the answers to the questions listed in Questions 1 and 2, below. Then prepare for a quiz game with your class.

1. In teams of three students, visit Legal Aid Ontario to find out more about a sample legal aid system. Find answers for each of the following questions. Write each question on its own piece of paper. Write your group's answer for it on the back of the paper. These papers will be used as game cards later.

  • Who is eligible for legal aid?

  • What cases are covered by legal aid?

  • What cases are not covered by legal aid?

  • What type of documentation should an individual bring when applying for legal aid?

  • How much does legal aid cost?

2. Remaining in your groups, visit the Web site of the Canadian Bar Association and find out more about the fundamental importance of legal aid in our criminal justice system. Summarize the position of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) on Legal Aid by answering the following questions. Write each question on its own piece of paper. Write your group's answer on the back of the paper. These papers will be used as game cards later.

  • What is the five-point reform platform of the CBA?

  • Why is legal aid fundamental in our justice system and in our democracy?

  • What support does the Charter provide for legal aid?

  • In what regard does legal aid support our international obligations?

  • How does legal aid fulfill our objectives of following the rule of law?

  • What is the crisis in legal aid?

  • What solutions does the CBA recommend for dealing with the crisis.

3. In your group, review all your answers together, and then prepare for the legal aid game by quizzing each other using your game cards.

4. Participate in the class quiz. Your teacher will pull the questions out of a "hat" at random for each team to answer. You may confer with your teammates to decide on your best answer, and any one of you may actually answer the question. The team with the most correct answers wins the game.

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