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What's New

Smarter and Stronger Justice Act 2019

Jan 07, 2020

On December 9th, our Attorney General, Doug Downey, introduced the “Smarter and Stronger Justice Act 2019” in the Legislature. 

Worthy of note for those who do legal aid work is that he has announced that Legal Aid Ontario 2020-2021 funding will be maintained at its current levels.  More on the Legal Aid Services Act can be found starting at Schedule 15 (p 9 of the Act attached here). 

For those in real estate law, he announced amendments to the Commissioners for taking Affidavits Act (Schedule 5 – p4) and the Notaries Act (Schedule 17 – p11).  In both cases, the lawyer will no longer need to be in the physical presence of the client. Ontarians will now be able to complete real estate transactions online.  The Notaries Act will also allow Paralegals to act as Notaries.  Law Society Treasurer Malcolm Mercer endorsed these changes.

For those in wills and estates, he announced amendments to the Estates Act (Schedule 9 -p6).

Schedule 12 – p7 covers amendments to the Juries Act so that the address of a person selected to be on a panel list is not included in the list.

Here is a link to the press release: https://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2019/12/building-a-stronger-justice-system-to-grow-safer-communities.html

Legal Aid Ontario - Additional Family Duty Counsel Services - effective November 18, 2019

Nov 19, 2019

As you may be aware, on July 7, 2019, Legal Aid Ontario implemented service changes across the province in order to align their operations to their provincial funding allocation for 2019.  The Federation of Ontario Law Associations was advised that following a period of monitoring Legal Aid Ontario services, they have adapted services as required and, as a result, they determined that there is now capacity to provide some additional family duty counsel services.

As such, effective November 18th, 2019, duty counsel will provide these additional services:

  • Procedural advice to anyone appearing without their own lawyer in first appearance court or case conference.
  • Assistance with child protection matters for financially eligible clients in jurisdictions where clients are unable to retain a lawyer in a timely manner.
  • Assistance with consents, as long as negotiations have been completed and the issues are eligible for duty counsel services.
  • Assistance with second case conferences, for those who financially qualify for legal aid and the issues are eligible for duty counsel services.

The linked documents below outline additional services which will now be available. The provision of these additional services will be subject to local practise and duty counsel capacity. Some services may not be available at every location.

CLIENT Service Guide - Family Duty Counsel Services

STAFF Service Guide - Family Duty Counsel Services

Substantive legal advice and assistance remain limited to those who financially qualify for legal aid. 

Ontario Making It Faster, Easier, More Affordable to Settle Small Claims

Nov 19, 2019

Ontario's government is increasing the claim limit for Small Claims Court to make it faster, easier and more affordable for people and businesses to resolve their disputes in front of a judge.

Beginning January 1, 2020, the maximum claim filed in Small Claims Court will increase to $35,000. Currently, all claims over $25,000 must proceed in the Superior Court of Justice — one of the busiest courts in Canada — where litigation can take years and can involve expensive legal representation. In Small Claims Court, cases are often resolved in less than a year and claimants are not required to hire lawyers or other legal help.

READ FULL NEW BULLETIN HERE

Ontario Making It Easier, Faster for People to Resolve Claims

Nov 19, 2019

Ontario is making it easier for families, businesses and individuals to resolve their legal issues quickly and affordably by expanding access to the Simplified Procedure process in civil court.

Beginning January 1, 2020, people with civil court claims up to $200,000 will be able to use the Simplified Procedure process, up from the previous claim amount of $100,000.

This change will require more people to file claims under the Simplified Procedure rule, reducing the cost of resolving disputes to families, businesses and taxpayers.

READ FULL ANNOUNCEMENT HERE

FOLA’s POSITION ON LAW SOCIETY AMENDMENTS IN RESPONSE TO BILL C-75

Sep 16, 2019

It is well recognized that Bill C-75 has changed the landscape of who can act as agent for accused persons.

Section 802.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits attendance by agent on charges where the maximum sentence that can possibly be imposed on summary conviction is greater than six months. Exception is made where the defendant is a corporation or the agent is “authorized to do so under a program approved by the lieutenant governor in council of the province.”

Bill C-75 increased most maximum penalties for summary conviction offences to two years less a day.  The Bill also converted many formerly indictable offences into hybrid offences. 

As a consequence of Bill C-75, effective Sept. 19, paralegals and law students will effectively be shut out of criminal courts unless the province authorizes a program in accordance with sec. 802.1.

In response to Bill C-75, Attorney General Doug Downey wrote to Treasurer Malcolm Mercer advising that the Law Society was best positioned to determine the scope of legal services to be provided by licensees, including paralegals.  It was proposed that the Lieutenant Governor in Council of Ontario approve a program in accordance with section 802.1.

FOLA position on the LSO Amendments re C-75 - Sept 2019

Diversity Toolkits Courtesy of NCBP

Sep 03, 2019
This toolkit was developed by the National Conference of Bar Presidents Diversity & Inclusion Committee, with the help of Hamilton Law Association Past President Robert J. Hooper, to serve as a resource for state, metro and specialty bar associations who want help in developing programming around diversity and inclusion. It includes links to programs that are
already being done, surveys for getting statistical data for what programs need to be provided, and data on what programs bars need to be offering.

Please use this toolkit as a guide to help you find programs that can be adopted for use in your practice.

Canadian Resources:
Catalyst: Research to provide solutions for creating equitable workplaces.
The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
Canadian Bar Association Equality: As the voice for the legal profession, the Canadian
Bar Association puts equality issues as an integral part of our mission and mandate.

Law Society of Ontario:
• Law Society of Ontario Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative: https://lso.ca/aboutlso/
initiatives/edi


Ontario Bar Association:
• OBA Inclusive Leader: https://www.oba.org/InclusiveLeader
• OBA Roundtable of Diversity Associations (RODA) conference:
http://www.oba.org/JUST/At_The_OBA_List/2018/Seeing-Diverse-Lawyers-Surviveand-
Thrive

• OBA Equality Committee Resources: https://www.oba.org/Sections/Committees/Special-
Committees/Equality-Committee/Equality-Committee-Publications

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. 

CONTINUE READING

Upcoming Events

The Hamilton Law Association is pleased to present the following Upcoming Events:

April 14
2020

POSTPONED

Robert Hooper: A Casual Conversation with a Seasoned Litigator


POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE


For more information in this regard, contact Kristjana Frani at kfrani@hamiltonlaw.on.ca.  

April 16
2020

POSTPONED

ANNUAL DINNER 2020


POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE


For more information in this regard, contact Kristjana Frani at kfrani@hamiltonlaw.on.ca.  

April 16
2020

POSTPONED

Corporate Commercial Workshop: Back to Basics


POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE


For more information in this regard, contact Kristjana Frani at kfrani@hamiltonlaw.on.ca.  

April 22
2020

POSTPONED

Lexis Advance Quicklaw & Practice Advisor Training Session


POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

For more information in this regard, please contact Laura Richmond at lrichmond@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

April 30
2020

POSTPONED 

The Family Law Lunch Bucket Series


POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE


For more information in this regard, contact Rachel Anderson at randerson@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

For information on these events and others, please visit our Upcoming Events page.

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