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TLA: Stephen Mullings

TLA responds to the joint AG/LSUC launch of Family Legal Services Review

On February 9, the Ministry of the Attorney General announced that the Ontario Government and the Law Society of Upper Canada have launched a Family Legal Service Review to be headed by the former Chief Justice of the Ontario Court, the Honourable Justice Bonkalo. The purpose of the Review is to consider whether any, and if so, what legal services in family law matters might be provided by persons other than lawyers, for example, paralegals, law clerks or law students.  

This Review comes in response to the urgent need to improve access to justice for Ontario families. In 2014 – 2015 over 57% of family law litigants did not have legal representation in court. It is undoubtedly time to consider alternative, accessible and affordable means of delivering family legal services, as the statistics show that the present system is not serving the interests of the public. The current court processes are complicated and cumbersome, and they can be intimidating or confusing to those who lack legal training and experience. Creating a system that is more accessible and less expensive is a challenging but laudatory objective.

The Toronto Lawyers Association looks forward to working with Justice Bonkalo on this important initiative. We will be responding to the AG’s request for input from the public, as well as meeting with, and making submissions to Justice Bonkalo. In its submissions, the TLA will emphasize the importance to the public of accessing competent and qualified legal services while at the same time ensuring individuals receive genuinely enhanced access to justice to resolve their family law disputes.

The TLA is seeking input from its membership regarding the nine questions posed in the Consultation Paper regarding the Family Legal Services Review. Your responses will be important in formulating the TLA’s response to the Review and will help to influence the evolution of family legal service delivery in the Ontario.

For more information, please contact

Stephen Mullings

Toronto Lawyers Association

Vice-President

smullings@duttonbrock.com

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