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Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017
Chris Bentley says there needs to be simpler and more affordable legal support for family law needs.


To increase affordable legal support in family law, the Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson has launched the Global Family Justice Initiative. The project has received funding through a $100,000 Law Foundation of Ontario grant and from an anonymous donor.

The initiative is comprised of family law practitioners, academics, psychologists and others involved in family law and seeks to develop new ways to provide family law services.

The initiative is underway and has four parts, including the Family Law Innovation Conference, set for 2018.

“The goal is one we all share, finding families in the throes of separation, the support, the legal advice, the services they need, in the way they need it,” says Chris Bentley, managing director of the Legal Innovation Zone.


Innocence Canada is hiring a staff lawyer, a year after budget shortfalls caused plans to scale down its operation necessitated a cash infusion from the Ontario government and the Law Society of Upper Canada to regain stability.

Debbie Oakley, executive director of Innocence Canada and the Innocence Canada Foundation, says they have done a caseload audit and looked at every aspect of their operations to increase efficiency. Oakley says Innocence Canada is currently handling about 70 cases, down from 90, having trimmed those for which it had no leads.

Jerome Kennedy, an associate at Roebothan McKay Marshall Accident and Injury Law and board member of Innocence Canada, says that the dire financial straits led to positive changes in the organization.

“The financial situation [in] which we found ourselves actually resulted in us analyzing all of our cases and getting very up to date on where we are and in the work that needs to be done,” he says.

“So, in turn, from a very negative situation came some benefits in terms of getting some more cases filed with the CCRG and also from assessing our caseload.”


As of Nov. 27, online civil claims filing is available across Ontario, according to the Ministry of the Attorney General. The new service follows a similar online filing system for small claims court.

The pilot project for the online civil claims filing was tested in Brampton, London, Newmarket, Ottawa, Sudbury and Toronto.


Law Times reported that new legislation that has been proposed would require the Special Investigations Unit to report publicly on its investigations, including when it determines that charges against an officer are not warranted.

Law Times asked readers if this would encourage systemic change.

Seventy-four per cent said that yes, the SIU should provide the public with explanations of why charges against an officer are not warranted if a civilian is seriously injured or dies. Twenty-six per cent said no, this information should be kept internal to the investigative bodies and is not necessary to disclose to the public.

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Ontario’s provincial government said it will use both the courts and the legislature to cut the size of Toronto’s city council ahead of an Oct. 22 election. Do you think lawyers' efforts to stop this move will be successful?