FOLA is working closely with the Law Society of Ontario's Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) as we prepare for #Access2Justice2019 Week (Oct 28-Nov 1). We encourage all Law Associations and interested Ontario lawyers to get involved. And we have resources to help!
And if you're on social media, join the conversation at #A2JWeek2019
On May 30th 2019, FOLA submitted our formal response to the Law Society's Access to Justice Committee's review of the LSO’s Access to Justice Approach. You can read background on the LSO's Committee Review, FOLA's submission, and submissions from other Law Associations by clicking on the blue button below
FOLA has long believed that a sustainable, appropriately and adequately funded legal aid system is critical to the efficient, effective and just functioning of Ontario's justice system.
Ontario has one of the best legal aid systems in the world, but it is far from perfect and FOLA is actively involved in a number of initiatives to make the system better for both low-income clients who use the system and the lawyers who utilize funding from Legal Aid.
On May 30th 2019, FOLA submitted our formal response to the Law Society's Access to Justice Committee's review of the LSO’s Access to Justice Approach.
You can read our submission here.
From Feb to May 31st 2019, the Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee sought input from lawyers, paralegals, legal and community organizations, and the public to assist in its ongoing review of the Law Society’s approach to access to justice.
The initiatives are described in a Consultation Paper
The Committee's conclusions stated that:
"Legal needs have a profound negative impact on individuals and society in Ontario. To address these needs with finite resources and a defined regulatory mandate, the Law Society should ensure its access to justice initiatives are effective and consistent with its statutory functions. To that end, the Committee is analyzing the initiatives, which generally fall into four categories:
1) Facilitating access to legal services
2) Promoting accurate and clear legal information for the public
3) Supporting an accessible, fair and effective justice system
4) Providing assistance to external organizations
As part of its analysis the Committee sought responses to the following questions:
1. What do you think of the Law Society’s current access to justice initiatives?
2. Should some of these initiatives be enhanced? If so, which ones and why?
3. Should some of these initiatives be reduced? If so, which ones and why?
4. Should the Law Society launch new access to justice initiatives? If so, which ones and why?
5. What do you or your organization do to facilitate access to justice? Could the Law Society collaborate with you on your initiatives? If so, how?
6. Should the Law Society institute a levy on lawyers and paralegals to support additional
access to justice initiatives?
7. Do you have additional comments on the Law Society’s approach to access to justice?
SUBMISSIONS: Access to Justice Committee’s Request for Input, May 2019
During #A2JWeek2019, The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) is planning on hosting province-wide Free Legal Resources Fairs on October 29, 2019. And FOLA strongly encourage local law associations to play a critical role in this initiative.
Free Legal Resources Fairs on Tuesday, October 29 from -10AM - 8pm in communities throughout Ontario!
A) Walk-in Family Law Information Clinic
These are to be designed to provide an opportunity for individuals with family law issues to meet with a volunteer lawyer and/or law student for up to 30 minutes to ask questions about family law relevant to their situation.
Ideal locations: Local Law Libraries!
B) Legal service and legal information showcase
This component will be designed to offer members of the public an opportunity to connect and receive information from legal non-profit, government departments, and community organizations. This information (which the Law Society's TAG is happy to provide) will be displayed at tables, with representatives from participation agencies/organizations present to provide additional information and answer inquiries.
Ideal locations: Local Law Libraries!
Need some extra volunteers? Reach out to local student and community clinics!
Don't want to wait for more info to show up here? Contact Katie at Katie.Robinette@fola.ca for more information!
No matter where you are in the province or what role you play in the justice system there are various ways to participate in the Access to Justice Week conversation. Seize this opportunity to share your insights, innovations and ideas on social media using #A2J2019.
This year's program features:
Justice for Children and Youth is a specialty legal clinic which provides legal services for young people under 18 and homeless youth under 25 in Ontario. They also provide basic, understandable legal information for parents.