HLA Submission to LSO re. Access to Justice
Jun 12, 2019
The HLA considers access to justice as a central and important issue in the legal and broader community in the Central South Region and in Hamilton in particular. That there are “unmet legal needs” in our geographical region is unquestionable. We are well familiar with some of the issues that the call for comment cites, including the rising numbers of self-represented litigants, as is the experience in the Hamilton Unified Family Court, the first Court and location of its kind in Ontario.
The call for comment essentially seeks commentary and constructive criticism of the LSO’s access to justice initiatives. Yet meaningful qualitative and quantitative data are absent from the call paper. While the named initiatives – 1) facilitating access to legal services; 2) promoting accurate and clear legal information for the public; 3) supporting an accessible, fair and effective justice system; and 4) providing assistance to external organizations – are commendable and likely of significant value, it is difficult to engage in a meaningful criticism without concrete data and information about how the LSO is measuring progress. Such information would also facilitate the development and implementation of “a more concrete access to justice action plan”, one of the LSO’s strategic priorities for 2015-2019.
2019 Aemilius Irving Award Recipient - John O. Krawchenko
Apr 05, 2019
Congratulations to John O. Krawchenko, of Krawchenko Law, for being named the recipient of the 2019 Aemilius Irving Award! The award is named after the first president of The Hamilton Law Association. The award will be presented to John at the Annual Dinner held on Thursday, April 18th, 2019 at The Art Gallery of Hamilton.
The purpose of our award is to honour a member of The Hamilton Law Association who has made an outstanding contribution towards furthering the goals of The Hamilton Law Association through participation in Association activities, service to the legal community, contributions to academia, CPD, or contributions to the community generally.
Please join us at The Hamilton Law Association Annual Dinner on Thursday, April 18th, 2019, at The Art Gallery of Hamilton (123 King Street, West) for John's award presentation. Limited tickets for this event are still available. Please contact Kristjana Frani at 905-522-1563 or email@example.com
for more information and to RSVP.
MAG Court Fees Changes | Effective April 1st, 2019
Apr 01, 2019
In January 2019, the Ministry of the Attorney General posted a proposal to the Regulatory Registry to increase existing court fees. Approval was received to proceed with its proposal.
The ministry has also received approval to increase the fee waiver eligibility thresholds by the same percentage as the average fee increase. This will automatically increase every three years by applying the Consumer Price Index, beginning Jan 2023.
Those court users who do not meet the prescribed eligibility criteria, but cannot afford to pay, can continue to make a request to the court to waive the fees.
These changes will come into effect on April 1, 2019.
Click HERE for the complete list of the fee and fee waiver increases.
For more information, please read the Ministry's official correspondence HERE.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Vaia Pappas, Director of the Operational Support Branch at (416) 326-2514 or by email at Vaia.Pappas@ontario.ca.
2019 Patricia Wallace Community Service Award Recipient - Joel B. Kerr
Mar 25, 2019
Congratulations to Joel B. Kerr, for being named the recipient of the 2019Justice Patricia Wallace Community Service Award!The award will be presented to Mr. Kerr at the Family Law Seminar held on Thursday, April 4th, 2019 at theHamilton Convention Centre.
This award is presented to a lawyer who practices primarily family law in the Hamilton area whose community service and professional conduct best exemplifies the qualities we all admired in Justice Wallace. Previous recipients of the award have been William Tidball, Justice Caroline Brown, Salvatore Garcea, Catherine Cassidy, David Sherman, Gordon Morton and Gloria Nardi-Bell.
Please join us at The Hamilton Law Association Family Law Seminar on Thursday April 4th, 2019, at the Hamilton Convention Centre. Please contact Karen Cooper at 905-522-1563 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to register.
The HLA Endorses Andrew Spurgeon for LSO Bencher
Mar 13, 2019
It has been a tremendous honour to represent Central South as the Regional Bencher at the Law Society over the last four years. In that time I have met and worked with some remarkable people and been involved in some challenging, thought-provoking and inspiring debates, discussions and projects.
I wish to continue in this work and consequently ask you for your support and most importantly your vote in the Bencher Election set to go from April 15 to 30.
The mandate of the Law Society is to advance the rule of law, promote access to justice and regulate the profession in the public interest. The people who undertook this task four years ago – my fellow Benchers – have not all agreed on every issue. We have had difficult debates and collectively have made hard choices which have not always been easy nor popular in all quarters.
In dealing with those challenges my Central South colleagues, Janis Criger, David Howell and Ross Earnshaw, have earned my deepest admiration and respect for their thoughtfulness, commitment and hard work.
I am saddened that Ross and David have chosen not to seek re-election; yet I am pleased with the prospect that Janis and I might continue together as Hamilton’s voice at Convocation.
I stand for re-election because I wish to continue contributing to our profession; to make it better for both its members and the public. To this end, I will continue working at Convocation for:
- Contingency Fee Agreements (CFA) – As a member and Chair of the Fee Arrangements Working Group I have advanced the development of a standard form CFA (without caps) which will protect the public and lawyers by simplifying and clarifying the relationship between them.
- No Expansion in Scope of Independent Paralegal Practice – Family law requires highly qualified practitioners. Paralegals should not be allowed to act on family law matters in any way unless they are employed by and under the supervision of a lawyer.
- Well-funded County Libraries and Law Associations – The most effective support for sole and small firms often comes from their local county law association.Associations like the HLA all make us better lawyers.The Law Society’s funding for them should be increased.
- Inclusiveness and Diversity – Advancing and promoting inclusiveness is crucial to what we do.Indeed our stock-in-trade as lawyers is the management of human relationships and it is essential that among us as a group, we strive to achieve what is our own law association’s mission: “to enable its members to be accepted, respected and fulfilled in their profession.”
Janis and I support and endorse each other. Together we have the support and endorsement of several Toronto Bencher candidates who we support and endorse. They are helping us in our efforts at re-election and we ask that you consider casting your vote for them too. They are:
- John Callahan
- Rebecca Durcan
- Atrisha Lewis
- Isfahan Merali
- Barb Murchie
- Sid Troister
- Tanya Walker
I thank you for the support you gave me when you elected me four years ago. I hope you will see fit to cast your vote for me again in this election. If you wish to know more about where I stand on the issues please visit my website at www.spurgeonforbencher.com.
The HLA Endorses Janis Criger for LSO Bencher
Mar 13, 2019
Even if you don’t vote for me, please vote.
The Hamilton Law Association has kindly offered space for Andrew Spurgeon and me to set out our Bencher Election 2019 platforms. Thank you for that and thank you for endorsing us both in this Bencher Election. I am pleased and honoured to have the Association’s support.
Thank you also to the people who voted for me in the 2015 election. I was very pleasantly surprised to be elected.
Now, the title. In Bencher Election 2015, less than 40% of lawyers voted. I can’t remember whether the percentage was 34 or 37 but, either way, it means about 1/3 of lawyers decided who would set policy and make rules for the entire profession for the next four years.
I want your vote. I am asking for your vote. I have very much enjoyed the 2015 – 2019 Bencher term, working hard with people I like and respect to do my best to govern the profession in the public interest. I would like to serve a second term. That’s why your vote is important to me.
Your vote is also important to you. It’s your chance to send people you believe will govern the profession in the public interest, fairly and competently. Voting opens in the second week of April, 2019 and closes on April 30, 2019.
Andrew Spurgeon and I would very much like you to vote for both of us as out of Toronto candidates. Andrew is an excellent Bencher. He and I both enjoy the work and I believe we have made a difference at Convocation and in Committees. Andrew and I know that Hamilton has a unique and valuable voice to offer at Convocation and Committees and we would like to continue being Hamilton Benchers.
Ross Earnshaw and David Howell, also excellent Benchers, are not candidates in this election. I regret that they will not be at Convocation in the coming term.
In this election, Andrew and I have been cross-endorsed by a number of Toronto candidates. We hope you will cast some of your Toronto votes for them. These are candidates we know will do good work at Convocation and who, although we do not always agree, debate the issues respectfully and knowledgeably. They are:
John Callaghan Rebecca Durcan Atrisha Lewis
Isfahan Merali Barb Murchie Sid Troister Tanya Walker
Let’s look at some issues.
Statement of Principles
I support the SOP. There’s nothing wrong with someone telling you to do something you were going to do (and are already legally obligated to do) anyway.
Under 10 years of Call Benchers in Governance
As a member of the Governance Task Force, I’m in favour of having more recent Calls (some people called are not necessarily ‘young’) participate in governance at the Law Society. I don’t believe it will serve the recent Calls, the public or the profession for them to become Benchers. Being a Bencher is a minimum commitment of about 5 weeks per year, even without preparation and travel time.
In my view, recent Calls should be invited to join one Committee. Committees are where policies are debated and developed. Committee discussion means the recent Call would be on the ground floor of decision-making, while retaining a balance between Law Society governance work, career and family. Having two recent Calls on each Committee, in my view, expands the number participating in governance without unduly burdening people with plenty of other things on the go.
Paralegals in Family Law
I don’t agree that paralegals should work in family law only under a lawyer’s supervision. I do agree that they should not advocate for clients independently in court. Andrew and I differ on this. In my view, regulation has greatly improved the overall quality of paralegals, although there are bad paralegals, just as there are bad lawyers.
I will watch carefully to see that paralegal scope in family law is properly and clearly defined, so that there can be no doubt about whether or not a particular activity is outside scope. I will also review the college curriculum as it is presented to the Access to Justice Committee, to ensure that the education is appropriate. The exam will also be presented to the Committee, and that too will bear careful scrutiny.
Libraries & Law Associations
I support continued proper, stable funding for law libraries. Law libraries perform vital functions for sole practitioners and small firms. Law Associations encourage collegiality, which breeds competence and civility.
Pro Bono Funding
I support proper, stable funding for Pro Bono Ontario but not by way of a levy on lawyers. First, 60,000 licensees should not be paying the whole of something that is the responsibility of all Ontario taxpayers. Second, a levy penalizes people who are already doing pro bono/low bono work as, no matter how low the levy, it is still a higher percentage of their income than it is of the person who does no pro bono/low bono work in a similar practice. Third, people who already do pro bono/low bono work would be paying twice.
Thank you again for your support in 2015. For more information, see: lsobencher.com/candidates and bencherelection.lawtimesnews.com (scroll down the page for candidates). Website coming soon. Twitter: @Thinqr1 (that’s a “Q” in the middle).
Cancellation of Pre-Authorized Payment for Property Taxes
Mar 07, 2019
City of Hamilton has advised that solicitors can act on behalf of a seller to cancel a pre-authorized tax payment on behalf of a client. The solicitor must use the City’s form of notice and the notice must be received at least 2 weeks before the date the cancellation is scheduled to occur. The City cannot stop a pre-authorized payment that is scheduled to be withdrawn within 2 weeks of a payment date, so that needs to be factored into the request for cancellation and an appropriate adjustment as between vendor and purchaser on the statement of adjustments would still be required.
the City of Hamilton's Cancellation of Pre-Authorized Payment Plan form for your use.
For more information about the City of Hamilton's property tax payment policies, visit https://bit.ly/2Tz7SfD
Ontario Courthouse Libraries Association (OCLA) Web App Now Available
Mar 01, 2019
The Ontario Courthouse Libraries Association (OCLA) is excited to roll-out our new mobile-device-friendly site. The new website is designed to be a lawyer-centric portal to the County and District Law Libraries in the province. We’ve packaged the individual law library profiles into one convenient site, offering an easy-to-digest overview of the information, and services being offered. Some of the features include:
• Highly visible quick link icons to contact information, location-based mapping, weather, and Association websites.
• Quick catalogue access to diverse resources, directly from the home page.
• A persistent header with a drop-down menu for easy navigation by Association or city.
• Find information about hours, access, electronic resources, parking, robing rooms, lounge facilities, value added extras, and more.
Enhance your travel experience to another jurisdiction by visiting http://oclanet.com/webapp/
Family Claims Online Service
Mar 01, 2019
The Ministry of the Attorney General has announced that starting February 25, 2019, the Family Claims Online service will expand to enable Ontarians to initiate simple divorce applications online at any time. The existing joint divorce online filing process is also being enhanced to permit property claims on consent.
As well, the Ministry continues to expand the Community Legal Education Ontario’s Guided Pathways to Family Court Forms tool. In addition to helping users complete the forms required to apply for a simple or joint divorce and file a separation agreement with the court, the tool now leads users through many forms required to apply for corollary relief, including custody, access, support, property division, and a restraining order (with or without a divorce claim).
See the links below to a guide on how to set up a Justice Services Online account, which is required to access the Family Claims Online service: Family Claims Online (www.Ontario.ca/familyclaims ), the Guided Pathways (https://www.cleo.on.ca/en/projects/guided-pathways-family-court-forms), and https://fola.ca/family-law-reforms.
Legal Aid Ontario - Submit Your Eligible Account
Feb 25, 2019
Starting February 24th 2019, certificate accounts eligible for automatic payment will be paid on the first Wednesday or Friday 14 days after they are submitted—instead of the current 21.
Legal Aid Ontario is pleased to announce that about 120,000 accounts per year will benefit from this change, made in response to your ongoing feedback and our latest Lawyer Satisfaction Survey.
Please note that lawyers who are close to their hard cap should wait until March 16, 2019 to submit further accounts as those submitted earlier will be paid in this fiscal year.
Hamilton Law Association Charitable Donations
Jan 25, 2019
In 2018 The Hamilton Law Association made two $500 donations to the Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa Language School. These donations were made on behalf of the 32nd Annual Joint Insurance Seminar and the 18th Annual Conference volunteers. Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa (Our Language Society) is a community-based organization that teaches Kanyen’keha (the “Mohawk” language) to adults on the Six Nations Grand River Territory. The $1000.00 donated contributed to the many important programs and activities run by the Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa staff and students.
For more information on Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa please visit: http://www.onkwawenna.info/
In 2019, The Hamilton Law Association made a $5,000 donation to the Lawyers' Legacy for Children Fund facilitated under the auspices of the Hamilton Community Foundation. The Association is an ongoing supporter of the Fund and it is often the charity of choice by our Board and members.
For more information on the Lawyers' Legacy for Children Fund please visit:
2019 Bencher Election
Jan 02, 2019
The 2019 Bencher Election is scheduled to be held on April 30, 2019, and for the first time, lawyer and paralegal bencher elections will run concurrently.
Benchers play a critical role in the governance of the Law Society and the regulation of Ontario's legal professions in the public interest. They serve a four-year term.
Nomination forms must be received by the Law Society at Osgoode Hall by 5 pm on February 8, 2019.
An information webcast will be held on January 10, 2019. Please book your spot by registering here.
For more information about the election, please click here.
The Hamilton Law Association is pleased to present the following Upcoming Events:
Striking Pleadings in Family Law
Family Court, Courtroom #2
55 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON
For more information, please contact Karen Cooper at 905-522-1563.
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
The John Sopinka Courthouse
(45 Main Street East, Hamilton)
7th Floor Jurors’ Lounge
For more information, please contact Anna Peterson at 905-522-1563
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2019
For more information, please contact Rebecca Lane at 905-522-1563 ext. 225
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The John Sopinka Courthouse (45 Main Street East, Hamilton)
Suite 500, Back of the HLA Library
For more information, please contact Kristen Ball at 905-522-1563
A Criminal Lawyer's Perspectives on the Defence of Child Abuse Allegations
Family Court, Courtroom #2
55 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON
For more information, please contact Karen Cooper at 905-522-1563.
For information on these events and others, please visit our Upcoming Events page.
Recent Job Postings
Part-time Legal Administrative Assistant/Law Clerk
Filice Law Professional Corporation
Legal Assistant - Full or Part-Time
Simpson & Wellenreiter LLP
Legal Assistant - Insurance Defence
Vandeputte Law Professional Corporation
Accident Benefit Law Clerk or Paralegal for Plaintiff Personal Injury Firm