Any other test cases challenging inadequate legal aid regimes?

Single Mothers’ Alliance v BC is a constitutional challenge against the Province of BC (Canada) and the Legal Services Society for failing to provide adequate family law legal aid to women leaving abusive relationships. West Coast LEAF and BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre are providing legal representation to Single Mothers’ Alliance BC and two individual women whose safety, well-being, and relationships with their children have been jeopardized by a lack of family law legal aid.

The case, launched in April 2017, alleges that BC has a constitutional responsibility under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure access to the justice system for women who are fleeing violent relationships or facing ongoing abuse from ex-spouses. The plaintiffs will argue that BC’s legal aid system discriminates against women and children and violates their rights to life and security of the person by increasing their risk of exposure to violence and intense stress.

I’m interested in hearing whether there are other similar cases happening in any other jurisdictions around the world.


Thank you, @Kasari, for sharing details about the above case - it is a striking example of holding the government accountable for legal aid provision to women who are particularly vulnerable. We look forward to hearing updates on the case, as well as other work you are engaged in with the Rise Women’s Legal Centre in BC Canada.

Curious if anyone has had similar cases or experience related to challenging their own governments around women’s rights and/or challenging inadequate legal aid schemes?

Maybe some of you who have worked on CEDAW shadow reporting @Wigayi, @mitali, @zannatborna, or others like @fatimaadamu, @erinkitchell, @suktidhital, @abigailmoy, @Abi, @KhanyisileNtsenge, @akhila_kolisetty, @arshidjan, @Neetu who know of similar cases? Perhaps @naniz, the founder of PEKKA, the Women-Headed Family Empowerment organization in Indonesia that organizes and supports rural widows, abandoned and divorced, and single women around poverty, discrimination, and justice issues has had similar legal cases in Indonesia.


Dear Kasari Thanks for sharing the challenges that you have been experiences. Preliminary Govt. belongs the sole responsibility to ensure justice for its citizen by Constitutional mandate and as per international obligation. I am not familiar with BC legal system but i assume that you have every possibility to challenge the above case. In Bangladesh Govt. provide free legal aid to the disadvantage group especially vulnerable women and by law Govt has obligation to do so. In 2000 Govt. of Bangladesh passed the Legal aid law which have a important role of the civil societies and women’s organizations advocacy efforts. You may documented the evidence of good practices around the world as case reference for your case. It might be helpful for the Court to announce a landmark direction that might useful for your future advocacy efforts to change the system. Best Mitali :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Mitali Jahan Project Manager Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association Monico Mina Tower, 48/3 West Agargaon Dhaka-1207 Phone & Fax: +88-02-9144714, 9143293 Cell:+8801731404600Email: Skype: Mitali6624


We have quite a few pieces of legislation modeled from the Canadian Legislative as we were once a colony of Great Britain, and our Civil Code the Bible of the Legal System which is quite out of step with modern times, for example common law relationships are still not recognized, children born from common law relationships are still being referred to as illegitimate children and cannot inherit from their fathers and women in common law relationships cannot inherit from their partners. To date same sex relationships is a criminal offense liable to incarceration. We still do not have a domestic violence act.