TORONTO, June 29 (UPI) -- Dozens of law professors are supporting lawyers boycotting Ontario's legal aid plan, saying underfunding is weakening the Canadian province's court system.
"We believe that there is a significant link between the underfunding of defense counsel and the current inefficiency of the criminal justice system," the 50 or so professors said in an open letter to provincial Attorney General Chris Bentley.
The Criminal Lawyers' Association this month began refusing to take on legal aid cases, including defendants charged with homicides and other serious crimes. The association has hundreds of members.
"The future for the system, if the boycott persists, is grim," James Stribopoulos, a professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School, was quoted as saying in Monday's Mail and Globe newspaper in Toronto.
"Much will depend on how committed the defense bar is in this latest round. My sense is that they are very unified and that they might just manage to stand together long enough to finally earn a meaningful increase from the government."