Federation of Ontario Law Associations

ACCESS TO JUSTICE (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

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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.