Federation of Ontario Law Association’s Ian Hu says group will focus on court delays, law libraries

FOLA recently named Hu its new director of policy and advocacy

Federation of Ontario Law Association’s Ian Hu says group will focus on court delays, law libraries
Ian Hu

Ian Hu, the new director of policy and advocacy at the Federation of Ontario Law Associations, says the group is focused on court delays, strengthening law libraries, and forging a collaborative relationship with the Law Society of Ontario Benchers.

Hu, a personal injury lawyer in Barrie, began his stint as director on Jan. 15.

“Ian Hu will be a tremendous asset to FOLA in carrying out our mandate as the voice of the practising lawyer,” said Douglas Judson, FOLA chair. “Mr. Hu’s 15 years of experience as a lawyer in private practice, as the face of the province’s legal malpractice insurer, and in leadership positions with law associations in Canada and the United States will serve us and the legal profession well.”

FOLA is a collection of local bar associations, which allows it to advance the interests of lawyers from every corner of the province with a “united front,” says Hu. Chief among the issues the bar faces is the lack of judges and unacceptable delays in the court system. While there have always been delays in many jurisdictions, he says the delay is now twice what it used to be.

“This is a huge issue… It used to take maybe a couple of weeks for a motion. Then, it became months. And now, for example, in Toronto, it's a year for a motion.” From the day a lawyer sets their matter down for trial, it will take anywhere from one to three years to see a judge, says Hu. He says the issue is not only with a lack of judges, as the court system is also experiencing turnover with court staff.

“It's a long time to get justice. It's not great in the criminal system as well, and FOLA is going to push hard to get the federal and provincial governments to appoint more judges. That's the solution: to provide more funding to the system.”

The second issue on which FOLA is focused concerns paralegals. With paralegals providing a broader scope of services, they will need to use law libraries, which various law associations run. Hu says FOLA strongly encourages each association to consider allowing paralegals to use the law libraries.

“It's an access just to justice issue. Allowing paralegals, alongside lawyers, to use library systems will eventually go back to helping the consumer of legal services.”

FOLA also wants to continue to help the Legal Information and Resource Network (LiRN), which funds the law libraries, and of which FOLA and the Law Society of Ontario are shareholders.

“FOLA has advocated strongly for more funding for LiRN because that means more funding for the libraries,” says Hu. “We want to continue to support LIRN and continue a tight integration between LIRN and FOLA so that users of the library system… will be able to access library services the way they want to.”

“There will be more and more users of these libraries. There will be more need for services, whether it's digital or in-person.”

Hu says FOLA also wants to continue to have a positive, collaborative relationship with Law Society Benchers. He says FOLA wants to support Law Society initiatives and be able to alert the regulator about issues that arise in their network. FOLA will also continue to be involved in consultations concerning Law Society policies to provide feedback reflecting the concerns of its members.

Hu is a former chair of the sole, small firm and general practice section of the Ontario Bar Association; the former vice president and director of the Ontario Bar Association; and an executive member of The Advocates' Society's personal injury and insurance practice group.

Related stories

Free newsletter

Our newsletter is FREE and keeps you up to date on all the developments in the Ontario legal community. Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Housing supply needs more public-private collaboration, less red tape, say lawyers

Judicial vacancies holding up construction litigation: litigators

With new federal funding Pro Bono Ontario expanding program for Ukrainian nationals across Canada

Ontario Court of Appeal resolves access rights between parents and maternal grandparents

Ontario Court of Appeal upholds dismissal of statute-barred personal injury claim

Ontario Superior Court rules on admissibility of jury questions in vehicle accident case

Most Read Articles

Ontario Court of Appeal resolves access rights between parents and maternal grandparents

Judicial vacancies holding up construction litigation: litigators

With new federal funding Pro Bono Ontario expanding program for Ukrainian nationals across Canada

Ontario Court of Appeal upholds dismissal of statute-barred personal injury claim