The recent economic downturn will make it harder for middle class people to access the justice system, according to the Law Society of B.C.

Middle class people don’t have a low enough income to qualify for legal aid or free services.

With the high cost of trials they usually have to consider second mortgages or dipping into their children’s education funds to defend their civil rights, the group said.

Gordon Turriff, president of the Law Society of B.C., said a public forum is being held tomorrow night to discuss solutions.

“There are lots of hurdles to access to justice,” Turriff said. “Money is one of them. There are also language and cultural barriers. It’s a multi-faceted problem.”

Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, is the keynote speaker. Representatives from the First Nations, immigrant organization SUCCESS and a private family law judge from California are also taking part.

“The more thinkers (at the forum) the more likely it is to produce a better situation,” Turriff said.

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