Focus On

Access to Justice


Friday, September 25, 2020 @ 2:03 PM

Sustaining our justice system in pandemic times | Roger Bilodeau

In recent months, several judges, court officials and observers have stated that the pandemic has thrust the justice system further along into the 21st century with the push to use all available technologies to maintain court operations. Many of them have also rightly pointed out that access to justice is still a challenge for a great number of Canadians. As courts take steps to resume regular operations, what does the future hold in terms of sustaining our justice system? Here are a few points to consider as governments, courts and other interested parties move forward to map out the future. ... [read more]

Friday, September 25, 2020 @ 1:36 PM

Ontario seeks to simplify family law with new legislation Doug Downey sm

The Ontario government has unveiled new legislation it says will make it “easier, faster and more affordable” to resolve family legal matters. If passed, the legislation — dubbed the Moving Ontario Family Law Forward Act, 2020 — will help make Ontario’s complex family law system easier to navigate by modernizing language, simplifying appeal routes and improving the online child support service, according to a Sept. 24 government news release. ... [read more]

Friday, September 25, 2020 @ 10:53 AM

The truth about small-town lawyering: ‘Oh you know that Sayers girl!’| Naomi Sayers

When I was first called to the Ontario bar, I was working in-house at Hydro One, on Bay Street in Toronto. I have nothing but great things to say about my experience at Hydro One. In fact, I credit my time at Hydro One for helping me navigate complex and unique files that I find myself encountering after I returned home to the Algoma region. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 24, 2020 @ 10:06 AM

New legal services providers are welcome | Hilary Linton, Omar Ha-Redeye and Matilda Kissi

As we discussed in part one, there is urgent need for a solution to the access to justice in family law problem, especially for clients maneuvering through the disadvantages of poverty, race, class, language, gender and violence. The family legal services provider (FLSP) would be a welcome solution for such clients, especially those further disadvantaged by COVID-19. ... [read more]

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 @ 3:33 PM

Ontario’s chief justices call for reinvestment in legal aid at court opening ceremony George_Strathy

Two of Ontario’s top judges have urged the provincial and federal governments to reinvest in legal aid at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has left many Ontarians at their most vulnerable. ... [read more]

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 @ 4:03 PM

Ontario Court of Appeal reaffirms responsibility for Jordan delays lies with Crown Howard Krongold sm

Highlighting the Crown’s duty to prevent court delays, the Ontario Court of Appeal has rejected a Crown argument that the absence of three judges due to illness and an education seminar caused an unavoidable delay that warranted extending the trial of a man charged with aggravated assault beyond the 18-month Jordan limit. ... [read more]

Monday, September 21, 2020 @ 1:42 PM

B.C. suspending civil jury trials in response to pandemic B.C. Attorney General David Eby

The B.C. government is suspending civil jury trials for just over a year as a means of minimizing the impact of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension begins Sept. 28 and will run until Oct. 4, 2021. Any trial taking place during this time period will be heard by judge alone. ... [read more]

Monday, September 21, 2020 @ 11:07 AM

Will pandemic finally lead to lower annual fees for Ontario licensees? | Andrew Puiras

Annual fees have been a sort of perennial issue in Law Society of Ontario (LSO) politics, causing groans but never erupting to the forefront. In the 2019 bencher election, many candidates made lowering annual fees part of their platform, but annual fees got lost in the shuffle as the statement of principles took centre stage. In 2019, Convocation lowered 2020 annual fees for lawyers by $135 to $2,066, a modest decrease of approximately six per cent from the previous year. ... [read more]

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 @ 8:18 AM

LSO budget balance: Support for licensees and public | Joseph Groia

These are difficult times for many members of the legal professions. Like so many others across the province, the country and the globe, lawyers and paralegals have seen COVID-19 have a material impact on their practices. Now is the time for the legal community to come together and work collaboratively to respond to the very real social and financial effects of COVID-19. And, we need to do this in a thoughtful, strategic and disciplined way — resisting reckless responses in direct contrast to the havoc of the pandemic itself. ... [read more]

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 @ 2:37 PM

Made-in-Ontario access to justice | Hilary Linton, Omar Ha-Redeye and Matilda Kissi

Ontario was the first Canadian jurisdiction to regulate paralegals and the first to permit them to practise independently. It is fitting then that Ontario’s law society has proposed an innovative response to the universally acknowledged access to family law justice problem: a new Family Legal Services Provider licence. ... [read more]