Statement on Legal Aid
The Treasurer in Convocation today made a statement in support of continuing to work with the Attorney General in support of a vibrant legal aid system.
"The Law Society of Upper Canada has been on the record for many years as supporting a sustainable, well-funded legal aid system in Ontario. We are pleased to have a strong supporter of legal aid in the current Attorney General of Ontario, and look forward to continuing to work with him and the Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid over the coming months on improvements to legal aid that will promote access to justice in Ontario. We believe that access to justice is not an abstract notion but a constant public policy challenge that requires adequate public funding.
"The Law Society of Upper Canada supports a vibrant legal aid system for all vulnerable Ontarians, in family law, poverty law, immigration and refugee law, and criminal law."
Paralegal election plans approved
The first election for the five paralegal members of the Paralegal Standing Committee is planned to take place in 2010. Any paralegal licensee in good standing will be eligible to stand for election and to vote.
Following the election, the five paralegal and three lay bencher members of the Paralegal Standing Committee will elect two paralegals as benchers and the committee as a whole will choose one of the five paralegals as committee chair.
The Paralegal Standing Committee is responsible for developing policy regarding the licensing and regulation of paralegals. The first five paralegal members of the committee were appointed by the Ontario government in November 2006 to develop the paralegal regulatory framework. More details are in the committee report and will be included in the next Paralegal UPDATE .
Rules of Professional Conduct amended
The Rules of Professional Conduct were amended to clarify that certain ethical duties are owed to both licensees in Ontario and other Canadian lawyers. A definition of 'legal practitioner' was added and will replace "licensee(s)" and "lawyer(s)" in appropriate places throughout the rules. Legal practitioner means a person who is a licensee; or who is not a licensee but who is a member of the bar of a Canadian jurisdiction, other than Ontario, and who is authorized to practise law as a barrister and solicitor in that other jurisdiction. The amended rules are detailed in the committee report .
Update on the Governance Task Force consultation
Throughout April and May 2009, 102 lawyers and paralegals participated in ten consultation sessions on Law Society governance in five locations across Ontario. Lawyers and paralegals invited to the meetings included sole, small and large firm practitioners, corporate counsel and academics. Three additional meetings were held with representatives from legal organizations. Prior to the meetings participants received a consultation document that served as the basis for discussion.
The sessions constituted the second phase of a consultation process which began last November with a workshop for benchers. The results of the bencher workshop and the external consultations will be assessed by the Task Force in preparation for its next report to Convocation in the fall of 2009.
Law Society Call to the Bar ceremonies
The Law Society called more than 1,200 new lawyers to the bar and awarded honorary doctorates to five distinguished Ontarians at its June Call to the Bar ceremonies. The 2009 honorary doctorate recipients are: the Honourable Mr. Justice Sidney B. Linden, Mr. George M. Thomson, the Honourable Madam Justice Harriet Sachs, Major-General Richard Rohmer, and the Honourable Madam Justice Frances Kiteley. The honorary doctorates are awarded to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice. The presentations were made at ceremonies held in London, Ottawa and Toronto.
Law Society awards honour the best of the profession
The Law Society will present awards to nine lawyers who represent the highest level of achievement and commitment to serving society and the profession. The Law Society Medal, the Lincoln Alexander Award and the Laura Legge Award will be presented by Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar at a special ceremony on September 23, 2009.
This year's Law Society Medal recipients are: Professor Nicholas Bala, George Biggar, Elizabeth Goldberg, James Douglas Grenkie, Q.C., Peter Hrastovec, Patricia Jackson and Susan Vella. This year's recipient of the Laura Legge Award is Janet Leiper and the recipient of the Lincoln Alexander Award is Sandra Thomas.
Lawyers Feed the Hungry program expands
The Lawyers Feed the Hungry program has added a Friday night dinner to the other three weekly meals it serves in the Osgoode Hall cafeteria. Please consider volunteering or supporting the program with a donation. This is one of the few programs for the needy that continues to operate through the summer months. Learn more about the program from the website .
Finance Committee report
Convocation approved the updated investment policies for:
- the General Fund and Compensation Fund
- the Errors and Omissions Insurance Fund.
Convocation also approved the continued retention of Foyston, Gordon & Payne and CIBC Asset Management Inc. as Law Society investment managers.
Hearing Panel Rules of Practice and Procedure amended
Convocation approved housekeeping amendments to the new Hearing Panel Rules of Practice and Procedure as well as the addition of the French version of the rules. The amendments are detailed in the committee report .
By-Law 4 amended
By-Law 4 [Licensing] was amended to incorporate the oaths approved at May 2009 Convocation. Motion .
Bencher Bob Aaron was reappointed as the Law Society's representative on the Canadian National Exhibition Association.
Bencher Avvy Go was appointed to the Ontario Justice Education Network for a period of three years to replace Janet Minor who resigned.
Bencher William Simpson was appointed to the Audit Committee to replace Larry Banack who resigned.
Bencher Larry Banack was appointed to the Finance Committee.
Bencher Raj Anand was removed from the Tribunals Committee at his request and was appointed to the Government and Public Affairs Committee.