PUBLIC ACCESS TO JUSTICE
“The judiciary recognizes that it must also play a part in improving access to justice. Everyone
must be on the same track. The only way to achieve real and lasting results is for the bench, the bar and government to work together, all in the context of the community which we serve.”
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada
August 11, 2007
To act on behalf of Ontarians and obtain Public Access to Justice by getting the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Attorney General for Ontario Chris Bentley, to once again allow paralegals to offer less complicated family law services in Ontario.
Public Access to Justice is an organization that works on behalf of Ontarians to expand access to justice for those Ontarians who require less complicated legal services, but can not afford a lawyer and may not qualify for legal aid.
We are committed to lobby for change in the legislation and Law Society policy to allow the public the opportunity to once again choose to hire a licensed paralegal for certain family law matters.
Prior to paralegal regulation in 2007, paralegals were permitted to provide the following family law services with leave of the court: represent in the Ontario Court of Justice on matters dealing with custody of children, access and support of children, claim for spousal support, bring motions to change final support order, and represent parents (not the children) in child protection cases. Since regulation by the Law Society of Upper Canada paralegals have been barred from offering any of these services to the public.
From 1968 to 1989 under The Provincial Courts (Family Division) paralegals were able to provide even more services to the public, and thus provide even greater access to justice. Paralegals during this period did not need the court’s permission to represent Ontarians.
We see Public Access to Justice eroding over time. We are compelled to act.
Ontarians deserve and expect a high level of competence, education, and skill from their legal representatives; whether they are lawyers or paralegals. We at Public Access to Justice agree with these fundamental principals.