Law Times

May 14, 2012

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PRIVILEGE RULING Follow on $4.00 • Vol. 23, No. 17 Untitled-3 1 Decision looks like pyrrhic victory for lawyers P2 POLICE SEARCHES Vulnerable-sector checks a new area for counsel P6 FOCUS ON Running your practice COVERING ONTARIO'S LEGAL SCENE • WWW.LAWTIMESNEWS.COM Ontario paper suggests. "In LAO' Legal clinics facing significant reform O 5/5/10 3:55:30 PM L AW TIMES BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times ntario's 77 community legal clinics are facing significant changes to the way they do business, a Legal Aid is off the table," says LAO spokesman s community Kristian Justesen. "It expects Ontario' s view, no idea or proposal law clinics to ask tough questions and make tough decisions about the basic assumptions, institutional arrangements, and practices that have shaped clinic law services in Ontario for decades. The funda- mental objective of the clinic law delivery system must be its ability to meet the needs of low-income clients and their communities." Released May 4, the LAO paper makes a number of suggestions on how clinics spending practices and notes the changing population demograph- ics that it feels they should take into consideration and adapt to. Among the potential changes are creating centralized services, increasing the could improve their 'After the increased funding, clinic lawyers are still earning close to what articling students make on Bay Street,' says Lenny Abramowicz. role of paralegals in legal clinics, and decreasing expenses related to bricks and mortar. Options, it noted, include locating clinic service providers in other agencies and public spaces. LAO prepared the discussion paper as part of its contribution to the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario' planning exercise, a process aiming to chart s strategic future directions for the system. The paper calls on clinics to pay greater attention to changes in the province's demo- graphics. They include an aging population, growth in the numbers of working poor, a change in the geographic distribution of low- income Ontarians, and an increase in the number of aboriginal Ontarians. ntitled-2 1 P9 May 14, 2012 7/7/11 9:10:05 AM Legal Aid Ontario document hints at big changes to provincial system Photo: Robin Kuniski "These demographics must play an impor- tant role in the future of Ontario's community legal clinics," says Justesen. "They are especially important considering most of the processes that have been in place at the clinics have been there since the mid-1990s. It is our suggestion that a conversation needs to be had about how New rules aimed at simplifying Ontario Court BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times T in a bid to reduce court backlogs and tackle a growing number of self-represented litigants. Th e newly minted Criminal he Ontario Court of Jus- tice is preparing to scrap its criminal rules for a less complicated version application," the court's web site states. "Th is refl ects the reality that Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice will take eff ect July 1 and will replace 32 old rules with fi ve new ones. Th ey'll also place new time limits on pretrial matters and scale down the language to make them easier to read. "Th e new criminal rules are brief, written 'From a lawyer's perspective, having consistency across all jurisdictions under the new rules is positive,' says Adam Weisberg. in plain language, and contain extensive com- mentary regarding their interpretation and many accused today do not have legal counsel or are unrepresented. Th e new criminal rules emphasize timely and detailed information sharing to ensure that matters are dealt with on a timely and in- formed basis rather than matters being delayed because of poor ad- vance preparation." Eff orts to reduce the province' become reality until this year when the province began to take a new approach to criminal pro- ceedings in an eff ort to speed up matters that were languishing in court. court backlogs have been underway for several years, according to a 2006 chief justice advisory committee re- port. But changes to the rules didn't s way on the changes by replacing its older criminal rules with the Criminal Proceedings Rules for the Superior Court of Justice in March. But some criminal lawyers say while the court' So far, the Superior Court of Justice has led the objective is noble, making the rules easier to read won't necessarily help reduce the backlogs fuelled in part by the increase in self-represented litigants. "Yes, unrepresented litigants may fi nd it easier s to fi ll out the new forms, but the courts don't sup- port them in any other way, Toronto criminal defence lawyer. "Th ey still need the legal knowledge to be suc- " says Daniel Brown, a cessful in court. So I'm not sure if the goal of the court should be to make the rules easier for them to read. Likely, the larger issue is ensuring equal access to legal representation." Currently, a person who' or access a criminal lawyer can seek duty counsel through Legal Aid Ontario. However, s unable to aff ord See New, page 5 See Toll-free, page 5 KPI_LT_Mar26_12.indd 1 12-03-20 10:58 AM PM #40762529

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