Ontario Family Legal Services Review

Ontario Family Legal Services Review

We posted the announcement of the Ontario Family Legal Services Review headed by Justice Bonkalo last week. Here is another news story.

We want to encourage our FB members, especially those in Ontario, to take up the invitation to be “consulted” by the Review and send your written comments and ideas to FamilyLegalServicesReview@ontario.ca.

The questions that the Review is exploring are partly research-based – for example, developing a comprehensive picture of who is providing what types of family legal services currently in Ontario – and partly exploratory that is, what changes are necessary?

NSRLP is well aware that present restrictions on the provision of family law assistance by paralegals limit assistance that could improve access to justice for Ontario family SRLs. Again, we encourage you to participate in the public consultation and make your views known.

We suggest that you explain your views in light of your personal experiences – as concisely and clearly as you can – and tailor your response to the specific questions that the Review is asking, which include:

  1. Which legal service offerings (e.g. conducting legal research, preparing correspondence, appearing in court, etc.) could improve the family justice system if they were more widely available?
  1. If an appropriate framework is put in place, should persons other than lawyers, such as paralegals, be permitted to provide legal services in certain family law matters?

If yes:

  • which types of legal services (e.g. interviewing a client, preparing certain documents)?
  • in which types of family law matters (e.g. divorce, custody and access)?
  • with what safeguards (e.g. education, training, insurance, regulation and/or oversight)?
  1. Should other people as well as lawyers provide legal aid services? What role could these people play?
  1. Do you think there are certain types of family law cases or issues that would not be suitable for persons other than lawyers to provide?
  1. Are there any promising models in other jurisdictions in Canada or abroad that Ontario should consider, with respect to the role of family law legal service providers, other than lawyers?

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