Another recent Slaw.ca column on the topic of legal ethics can be found this week, authored by CALE President Alice Woolley and on the topic of the appropriateness of judges commenting on morals and policy in their reasons.
A new column by Malcolm Mercer is now up on Slaw.ca, which explores the current policy debate in Ontario about the appropriate licensing process for lawyers and difficulties created by challenges in making accurate predictions about the supply and demand of lawyers and the self-interest inherent in a self-regulating profession.
Following the release of this Report, Justice Camp announced that he would resign and issued an apology. More details can be found here.
This development attracted significant media coverage, including an op ed in the Globe and Mail by CALE President Alice Woolley.
At its February Convocation, the Law Society of Upper Canada voted to amend its conduct rules governing the advertising of legal services with a view to strengthening their ability to protect the public. In the Law Society’s own words, the amended rules:
- Provide detailed guidance on what awards may be used for marketing purposes. Amendments to the rules provide specific direction to the professions on the type of awards and honours that are permitted in advertising.
- Require licensees to identify in their advertising whether they are a lawyer or paralegal. This will enhance the public’s awareness of the different types of licences and help the public make a more informed choice of legal service provider.
- Prohibit advertising of second-opinion services. The Working Group found that the main purpose of second-opinion advertising was to attract already-represented clients with the intention of having the client switch lawyer or paralegal — rather than to market valuable second-opinion services. Under the new rules, second-opinion services are still permitted. The Working Group found that the public is well-informed of the right to seek a second opinion and to change lawyer or paralegal. Advertising of this service is not required.
- Make explicit that lawyers and paralegals may not advertise for work they are not licensed to do, not competent to do or do not intend to do. The amended rules provide additional guidance to lawyers and paralegals in these areas to ensure that they are fully aware of their obligations to the public.
At the same meeting, the Law Society approved a policy to cap and further regulate the fees a lawyer or paralegal may charge for referring a client to another licensee. More details from the Law Society on this change can be found here.
Improving Access to Justice for Families
Making the Family Court System Easier to Navigate
March 6, 2017 12:00 P.M.
Ontario is helping families by making it easier for them to navigate family courts and access the legal assistance they need.
Last year, Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada asked the Honourable Annemarie E. Bonkalo to lead a review to consider whether a broader range of service providers could deliver certain family legal services.
Ontario and the Law Society are now seeking public feedback on Justice Bonkalo’s recommendations. People can submit feedback online until May 15, 2017.
The province, together with the Law Society, plans to release an action plan by fall 2017 to address these recommendations.
In addition, Ontario has asked the federal government to support its plans to expand Unified Family Courts provincewide. Expanding these courts would streamline the family court process by ensuring Ontario families only have to go to one court to resolve their legal issues no matter where they live.
Improving access to justice for families is part of our plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives.