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Legal Fee Insurance Promises Equality

NCJ Number
Canadian Consumer Volume: 1979 Dated: (August 1979) Pages: 6-10
L C Wilson; B M Mazer
Date Published
5 pages
Prepaid legal service plans, operating similarly to group health insurance plans, are examined as a means to redress imbalances in Canada's justice system; an existing legal services plan is described.
Prepaid legal services have the potential of securing full realization of citizens' rights and of providing the rapidly increasing number of lawyers in Canada the means to earn a livelihood. Proponents of the legal services plan argue that money may be a far more potent weapon in litigation than the merits of a particular case; with insured legal services economic inequality may cease to be an obstacle to equal justice under law. The United Grain Growers Insurance Services Organization of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has a legal services plan. The basic plan offers consultation with a lawyer at $20 or less per visit and a maximum of $80 per year, preparation and/or review if wills, conveyance of a residence (to a maximum of $250 per year). Benefits include searching title, preparing transfer or agreement-to-sell documents, examination of survey certificates, and examining insurance policies. A comprehensive plan is also available. The United Grain Growers plan may well serve as a model for rapid expansion of prepaid legal service plans in Canada. To determine the need for prepaid legal services, a survey conducted by the University of Alberta distributed three proposed prepaid legal service plans among a sample population of 400,000 Albertans. Over two-fifths of sample approved of the concept of a prepaid legal service plan: about 26 percent indicated that they would subscribe to one of the proposed plans. An illustration and an insurance premium structure are included. Eleven references are provided.


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