Files for 155 cases were open by the end of March, down from the previous year
There was a slowdown at the beginning of 2019 in the number of lawyers and paralegals before the Law Society Tribunal, according to a Law Society of Ontario report released on Oct. 24.
Files for 155 cases were open by the end of March, compared to 167 open at the end of 2018 and 174 in the year-ago period.
The statistics come as the law society wraps up a three-year review of the tribunal approach, where data was collected “to measure the effectiveness of the tribunal’s processes.” The tribunal, in place since 2014, has been trying to increase the use of pre-hearing conferences and keep the discipline process under 1 year for licensees.
The average time to close a lawyer file was 376 days in the first quarter and 381 days in the second quarter of this year, the new report said. For paralegals, the average time was 273 days in the first quarter and 169 days in the second quarter.
Some kinds of cases take longer, though. For lawyers whose files first go to the Proceedings Authorization Committee (usually cases on conduct, capacity, non-compliance and interlocutory suspension or restriction motions,) the process takes over 400 days. The LSO report also noted that one file closed this year took about 5 years to close, “due in part to the licensee being out of the country.”
The pre-hearing conferences usually take place in the first three or four months, the LSO report said.
A goal of the report, said the law society, was to “be transparent with the public about the work we do.”