LSO amends Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure to streamline summary hearing process

Regulation encourages cooperation and sets out penalties depending on time of compliance

LSO amends Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure to streamline summary hearing process

Chair of the Law Society of Ontario Tribunal Committee, Julia Shin Doi, introduced a motion on Feb. 24 Convocation to amend the Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure to include Rule 21 – Failure to co-operate and related forms to help streamline the summary hearing process and encourage investigation compliance.

Some licensees do not understand their rights and obligations and the potential consequence of proceedings, so Shin Doi said providing more support is desirable.

“The mischief addressed by summary hearings is in the vast majority of cases, a failure to comply with investigation.”

Under the proposed amendment, parties must file their summary affidavits which the tribunal uses to determine whether a written or oral hearing is held. Shin Doi said the committee reconsidered spending resources on oral hearings because the results are predictable and impose formulaic penalties. “Written reasons in these cases typically add little to the jurisprudence.”

She said the proposed rule is in a broader initiative with the tribunal and duty counsel to provide earlier assistance to licensees at risk of facing a failure to co-operate application.

“Failure to co-operate proceeding come about as a means of ensuring licensees comply with their obligations to respond to enquiries from the regulator. The proceedings stress the importance of that obligation, but there can be many reasons why a licensee has not promptly and completely provided requested information and documents.”

It can be difficult for licensees to comply due to challenging circumstances, and Shin Doi said mental health or substance use could be a factor.

She said the regulation encourages cooperation and reduces cost by setting out a spectrum of consequences depending on the nature and time of compliance with the information request.

“Licensees will be told about their rights and obligations, and potential consequences and that early involvement will also assist in identifying issues that require mental health or substance use supports.”

The motion passed with a majority vote. 

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