Consultation running until Jan. 24
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has initiated a series of consultations on the proposed minimum experience standards which its prospective roster members must meet to be to be authorized to provide legal-aid-certificate and duty-counsel services in specific areas of law.
The consultation process is part of LAO’s implementation of the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020 which took effect in October 2021. The new law enables LAO to work alongside service providers to swiftly develop and adapt legal-aid services and policies. It also allows LAO to eliminate red tape and update its outdated systems and processes.
According to LAO, the proposed minimum experience standards primarily consider representation of clients in a minimum number of matters for a specified area of law, and representation in a minimum number of certain types of proceedings, such as consensual dispute resolution proceedings and fitness hearings. These standards will form a schedule to the Legal Aid Services Rules made under the authority of the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020.
LAO said that while the consultations are focused on the proposed minimum experience standards, it would continue to ensure that clients receive high-quality legal representation that reflects the unique qualities of each area of law. The consultations began on December 13, 2021 and will end on January 24.
“By engaging in meaningful dialogue with our justice partners, we hope to build a sustainable framework that supports our roster members in providing these services,” said LAO’s CEO and president David Field.