Law Times

November 12, 2018

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PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 29, No. 36 November 12, 2018 L AW TIMES C O V E R I N G O N T A R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W . L A W T I M E S N E W S . C O M Bill could allow convicted criminals on juries Lisa Jørgensen says Canada is moving toward a more holistic evaluation of juror eligibility. Photo: Laura Pedersen DEAL RESTRICTED Decision clarifies third-party agreements P4 ESA OVERHAUL Access to justice would improve P7 FOCUS ON Insurance Law P8 BY ANITA BALAKRISHNAN Law Times A proposed amendment to the provincial Juries Act would repeal the rule that prevents people con- victed of an offence from serving as jurors. The change in juror eligibility is part of the Bill 52, Juries Stat- ute Law Amendment Act, which was carried through first reading on Nov. 1, tabled by Nathalie Des Rosiers, an Ontario member of provincial parliament and former dean of the civil law section at the University of Ottawa. The bill, alongside other fed- eral-level proposals, means that juries in Ontario may look very different in the future, say lawyers. "One of the criticisms of al- lowing people who have criminal records to serve on juries is this notion that they may be biased against the prosecution or have animus toward the justice system because they were convicted. And I think, ultimately, what we are moving toward in Canada, more and more, is a holistic approach to these issues," says Lisa Jørgensen, principal at Cooper Jørgensen in Toronto. "[I]f you have been convicted of a particular crime, you may not be able to be objective sitting as a juror on a very similar situation of fact. But you probably have noth- ing in your experience that makes you any more likely or less likely to have strong views on the outcome of a totally unrelated criminal of- fence." Currently, jurors are barred from serving if they have been "convicted of an offence that may be prosecuted by indictment and have not received a pardon," the bill says. Instead, the bill proposes that people are only ineligible to serve as jurors if they are "legally confined in a correctional institu- tion." The bill also proposes to repeal criminal record checks to assess juror eligibility. Des Rosiers says the Juries Act needs reform because it excludes too many people from the jury pool. Instead, she says, Ontario should bring its jury pool rules in line with those of provinces such as Saskatchewan. The Juries Act as it stands "pre- sumes that anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offence that could have been prosecuted by See Bill, page 2 Bencher hopefuls push LSO on pro bono funds BY ANITA BALAKRISHNAN Law Times V oters and candidates are examining the Law So- ciety of Ontario's role in promoting pro bono funding amid the closure of popu- lar legal help centres in several On- tario courthouses. Pro Bono Ontario announced it will close its Law Help Centres in Toronto and Ottawa on Dec. 14 due to lack of stable funding. News of the closures comes months ahead of the April 30, 2019 election of the new board of benchers at the Law Society of On- tario, which regulates lawyers and donates money yearly to support access to justice. The closures will affect three locations — Small Claims and Su- perior Courts at 161 Elgin Street in Ottawa, Small Claims Court at 47 Sheppard Avenue East in Toronto and Superior Court at 393 Univer- sity Avenue in Toronto — which together serve nearly 20,000 Pro Bono Ontario Law Help Centre clients per year, says Lynn Burns, executive director of Pro Bono Ontario. Two aspiring candidates — vy- ing for a spot as benchers in Con- vocation, the law society's board of directors — say the law society has a role to play in supporting these types of pro bono services. Orlando Da Silva is a former OBA president who recently de- clared his intention to run in the bencher election. He says the LSO should act quickly to evaluate the needs and find room in the budget for more Pro Bono Ontario fund- ing if that's what is needed, as as- sisting with access to justice is part of the LSO's purpose. "There's so much that needs to be done and looked at to fill the gaps in legal services where the public just aren't going to lawyers or even paralegals because they are more afraid of the cost than an ad- verse result," says Da Silva. "That's something I want to be part of the solution to." See Pro, page 2 Learn more at or call 1.800.653.0925 Untitled-2 1 2018-11-07 12:10 PM cLeishOrlando_LT_Oct29_18.indd 1 2018-10-25 7:52 AM THE CANNABIS C C What are the implications of the Cannabis Act? Visit the website that provides reliable news, analysis, experts and resources for professionals looking for answers. Untitled-1 1 2018-11-08 3:01 PM Orlando Da Silva says the LSO should find room in the budget for more Pro Bono Ontario funding if that's what is needed.

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