Law Times

October 5, 2015

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

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Chief justices call for better security at Ontario courts BY NEIL ETIENNE Law Times mproved technology and bet- ter courtroom security are among the priorities for Ontar- io's chief justices as the courts begin a new year. "As we begin another court year, it is appropriate to observe that in a world where so many people are f leeing chaos and the absence of the rule of law, we are privileged to live in a country governed by the rule of law," Ontario Chief Justice George Strathy said during his address at the annual opening of the courts ceremony in Toronto on Sept. 24. "Our pride in our system of jus- tice does not blind us to its short- comings," he added. "It makes us want to remedy those shortcomings and improve our system. We have our problems and we are acutely aware of those problems." In his speech, Strathy cited sev- eral of those gaps. "Family law, in particular, requires rationalization and simplification," he said. "The social, economic, and human costs of the current system are simply un- acceptable. Second, significant im- provements to court technology are required to provide the public and the bar with cost-effective access to justice. Third, inadequate court- house security at many courthouses across the province, including at our own in Toronto, put both the public and the judiciary at risk." Nevertheless, Strathy noted there have been improvements re- cently when it comes to access to justice. "At the Court of Appeal, increased funding has permitted Legal Aid Ontario to ensure that there is a legal representative for the most vulnerable by providing legal representation for all appellants with mental-health issues," said Strathy, noting LAO is now work- ing with the courts to fund counsel for child protection appeals. Superior Court Chief Justice Heather Smith echoed many of Strathy's goals, saying technology would be key to improving public access along with infrastructure investment at certain courts in the province. She noted the past year included a review of best practices aimed at ensuring more efficient scheduling. "The challenge for the year ahead is to implement our best practices Edmond_LT_Sep8_15.indd 1 2015-09-02 12:37 PM Lawyers Feed the Hungry at risk Fundraising challenges create $150,000 shortfall for Toronto program BY NEIL ETIENNE Law Times oronto's Lawyers Feed the Hungry program is famished. Launched in Toronto in 1998 and funded pri- marily through donations to the Law Society Foundation, the program is facing a major shortfall that one bencher said is putting it at risk. "When I joined the foundation board, I would char- acterize the Feed the Hungry program as healthy and vi- brant," Bencher Michael Lerner, who's also a member of the foundation's board, told Convocation on Sept. 24. "In the last few years, sadly to say, there have been times when it has been approaching, if not on, life support." Ian Hull, co-founder of Hull & Hull LLP and chair- man of the foundation's board of trustees, noted the situa- tion was urgent as he asked for support during remarks to Convocation. "While the board is doing as much as it can do, we need a collective effort and it's urgently needed to maintain this program." Hull said that when the program began, volunteers provided hot meals once a week in Osgoode Hall's cafete- ria. That blossomed over the years to four hot meals each week all year with about 3,500 people served each month in Toronto. All told, including Lawyers Feed the Hungry programs in Ottawa, London, and Windsor, Ont., the pro- grams have served hot meals to more than three million people since the beginning and average about 100,000 people per year. Of that 100,000 annual average, Hull said about 60,000 people come through Toronto's program. But despite being the busiest of the programs, it's also the one that's struggling the most financially. "Historically, the funding of the program has been reliant on phenomenal efforts by some of the found- ers, we got funding through what I would call one-offs, and the program was vibrant for many years," said Hull, noting the Law Society of Upper Canada provides staff volunteers to help with the meals, space at Osgoode Hall, and administrative support to keep operating costs down. "Now, the program is funded essentially through ad hoc donations and fundraising efforts. We are, in the Toronto program, facing some tremendous change in JUSTICE IGNORED Parties letting legal issues fly under the radar P7 FOCUS ON Litigation P8 'We are, in the Toronto program, facing some tremendous change in both the funding and the fundraising,' says Ian Hull. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Brampton, page 3 See Meals, page 3 'We have our problems and we are acutely aware of those problems,' says Chief Justice George Strathy. PM #40762529 TORONTO | BARRIE | HAMILTON | KITCHENER 1-866-685-3311 | cLeish Orlando_LT_Jan_20_14.indd 1 14-01-15 3:15 PM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 31 October 5, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on L AW TIMES T I FOREIGN JUDGMENTS SCC makes strong statement in Chevron case P3

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