Federation of Ontario Law Associations

ACCESS TO JUSTICE (A2J)

A2J WEEK 2019

image182

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

ISSUES AND SUBMISSIONS

image183

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

PRO BONO SERVICES IN ONTARIO

image184

There are a variety of services available to residents of Ontario.  See FOLA's comprehensive list below.  If you notice that we are missing any, please let Katie know at Katie.Robinette@fola.ca.


LEGAL AID IN ONTARIO

image185

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.  

ISSUES & SUBMISSIONS - a2J

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.


Background

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?


Read the report here


SUBMISSIONS:  Access to Justice Committee’s Request for Input, May 2019

Read FOLA's Submission  here

Read the Toronto Law Association's Submission here

Read the  County of Carleton Law Association’s Submission here

image186
image187

ACCESS TO JUSTICE WEEK 2019

ONTARION'S 4th ANNUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE WEEK BEGINS ON MONDAY OCTOBER 28th

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!  

BUT WAIT! THERE ARE MORE EVENTS!

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:


  1. A range of events, initiatives and resources organized with a diverse group of partners
  2. A full-day public legal education conference 
  3. Live webcasting for select events

PRO BONO SERVICES IN ONTARIO

Justice for Children and Youth

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.


Pro Bono Students Canada

  • Appeals Assistance Project Crown Wardship Pilot Program: volunteers assist unrepresented, low income litigants appealing crown wardship no access orders.
  • Civil Court Project (Toronto): a Pro Bono Law Ontario self-help centre at the Superior Court in Toronto to assists low-income, unrepresented civil litigants.
  • Duty Counsel for Law Society Discipline Committee Hearings: volunteer lawyers assist unrepresented solicitors at Law Society Discipline Committee Hearings.
  • Eviction Prevention Project (Western): assists low-income renters facing eviction proceedings.
  • Family Law Project - relies on volunteers from all six Ontario law schools to provide services to unrepresented litigants in Windsor, Kingston, Ottawa, London, Toronto, North York, Milton and Brampton.
  • Federal Court Assistance Project: provides low-income, unrepresented litigants in the Federal Court with the assistance of counsel on matters with a reasonable prospect of success.
  • Health Law Student Advocacy Project (Toronto, Osgoode, Ottawa): helps unrepresented complainants by providing legal information, offering assistance with written submissions, and appearing on their behalf before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB). The HPARB reviews decisions made by the Complaints Committees of Ontario’s health professions Colleges.
  • Immigration and Refugee Detention Centre Project (Osgoode, Toronto): volunteer students go to provincial detention centres to present information to detainees on the immigration and refugee law process in Canada.
  • Judicial Plea: The Appeals Assistance Project: matches volunteers to low-income, unrepresented litigants for civil appeals. Services range from brief advice to full representation, including attendance at hearings.
  • Justice Ontario: a website and phone hotline provides Ontarians with a one-stop entry point for accessing legal resources and basic information on the most common justice-related topics. A project of the Ministry of the Attorney General, it also provides easy access to legal resources such as lawyer referral services and family law information centres.
  • Not-for-Profit Corporate Law Project (Toronto): addresses the vital business needs of non-profit organizations in Ontario in the areas of incorporation, charitable status registration, corporate maintenance and governance, and others.
  • Ontario Securities Commission Litigation Assistance Program: offers volunteer litigation services to unrepresented respondents appearing in enforcement proceedings for the Ontario Securities Commission.
  • Rural Entrepreneurial Legal Handbook Project (Queen’s): helps provide legal information to rural communities by researching and developing legal resources for rural communities in Eastern Ontario. Student volunteers are working to produce a legal handbook for entrepreneurs starting small, rural businesses in the region.
  • Small Claims Court Project (Toronto): provides general procedural and legal information enabling these individuals to complete the court process as independently as possible. In addition to providing information, a duty counsel lawyer can attend hearings or settlement conferences, help clients identify the legal issues related to their case, provide information on the rules and procedures of small claims court and answer general legal questions.
  • Tax Court of Canada Advocacy Project: offers representation to appellants in the informal procedure, with claims under $25,000. This project also operates in Quebec and is a pilot project in Nova Scotia.
  • Wills Project (Toronto, Osgoode): volunteers draft wills and powers of attorney for low-income clients.