Pro Bono Law Ontario closing Law Help Centres
TORONTO — The Toronto Lawyers Association is deeply concerned by recent news that Pro Bono Law Ontario will be closing its Law Help Centres in both Toronto and Ottawa and encourages the Ontario government to assist with the stable funding needs of the program.
The Law Help Centres are staffed by volunteer lawyers who assist self-represented persons navigate the civil court system and provide access to justice to those persons who would not otherwise have the means to do so. The Law Help Centres slated to be closed in Toronto on Dec. 14, 2018 are located at 47 Sheppard Avenue East (Small Claims Court) and 393 University Avenue (Ontario Superior Court).
The Law Help Centres have been faced with increasing demand and last year served more than 25,000 unrepresented clients while providing much needed relief to the courts. In the absence of the Law Help Centres, self-represented persons will be required to increasingly lean on the courts while consuming precious court time within a system already strained and faced with delays.
As reported by Canadian Lawyer, a U.S. consulting firm has determined that Pro Bono Ontario’s services provide a $10 return for every dollar invested. In consideration of both the financial impact and the increased strain on the Ontario Justice system, the Toronto Lawyers Association strongly encourages the Ontario government to address the stable funding needs required to support the Pro Bono Law Ontario Help Centers.