The Legal Aid Commission operates under the Legal Aid Act, which provides for the provision of legal counsel to represent eligible residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador:
The affairs of the Commission shall be managed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of seven members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council; the Deputy Minister of the department; and the Provincial Director. Pursuant to s3(3) of the Legal Aid Act three of the commissioners must be lawyers chosen from a list of five persons submitted to the Minister by the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Those who make up the Legal Aid Commission should collectively possess the following core competencies:
A combination of education and experience will be considered, including, but not limited to, experience in law, social work, finance, human resources, and communications.
Consideration will also be given to diverse backgrounds and regional representation.
The Board meets at least once a month except when the Chairperson considers a meeting unnecessary. Where a member of the Board, other than ex-officio members, without giving a reasonable explanation to the Chairperson, fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the Board, he or she stops being a member of the Board. A member of the Board may participate in a meeting of the Board by means of telephone or another telecommunications device that permits all persons participating in the meeting to communicate with each other.
Board members are also expected to spend additional time reviewing materials and preparing for Board and Committee meetings.
A member of the Board, other than the Deputy Minister of Justice and Public Safety and the Provincial Director, shall hold office during pleasure for the term of two years from the date of his or her appointment and is eligible for reappointment. Where the term of office of a member of the Board expires, he or she continues to be a member of the Board until reappointed or replaced.
The duties of the members of the Board of Commissioners include:
The Commission may receive requests to speak to the media. Commission policy is that only the Chairperson and the Provincial Director shall act as spokespersons for the Commission.
The Department of Justice and Public Safety is seeking to fill four member positions in accordance with the Independent Appointments Commission Act. The Independent Appointments Commission Act does not apply to the three positions appointed from a list of five persons to be submitted by the Law Society, pursuant to the Legal Aid Act.