Focus On

Access to Justice


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 @ 11:12 AM

Duties of opposing counsel to self-represented litigants Man with book and judge

One of the most frustrating experiences faced by a lawyer is that a self-represented litigant (SRL) is not bound by the same or equivalent ethical obligations governing a lawyer within professionally binding codes of conduct. The professional codes impose a series of duties, however, that are owed by a lawyer to an SRL, which must be respected by a lawyer on penalty of sanction for professional misconduct. ... [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]

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 @ 1:31 PM

Access to Justice: Gladue reports: We all have role to play | Michelle O’Bonsawin

This column has allowed me to share my perspective on A2J for the past year. It is now time to widen that perspective and so I have decided to invite guest writers — dedicated and innovative A2J actors — to share the column with me from time to time. I am extremely pleased to introduce our first guest, Madam Justice Michelle O'Bonsawin. — Beverley McLachlin ... [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 @ 10:33 AM

Court’s obligations in dealing with self-represented litigants: Limits to assistance Man with book and judge

In the first part of this series we looked at the overall obligations of the court in dealing with self-represented litigants (SRLs). We noted that certain boundaries to this overarching obligation are carved out in the case of sophisticated SRLs, and they are required to adhere to the rules of court and procedure more scrupulously. ... [read more]