The term public legal education is of relatively recent vintage. Although the Bar has long acknowledged a responsibility to provide the public with information about the law and our legal system, it usually assumed that the private practitioner could perform this function adequately within the context of his daily practice. Only in the last decade have we come to realize that this function was not being performed and that general information about the law was unavailable to most citizens.' Not only was the Bar not involved in "access to justice" problems, but those engaged in legal education seemed to have little concern for those not intending to enter the practice of law. Consequently, the fairness of fundamental axioms, such as, "everyone is presumed to know the law", became questionable, and lofty phrases, such as, "it is the right of every Canadian to have general information about the law", began to smack of empty rhetoric.
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R. A. MacDonald, “Law Schools and Public Legal Education: The Community Law Programme at Windsor”, Comment, (1979) 5:3 DLJ 779.