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

As you are well 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.  Earlier this afternoon, FOLA was advised that following a period of monitoring LAO 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 18, 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 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 attached documents 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.

Substantive legal advice and assistance remains limited to those who financially qualify for legal aid.  Please do forward this to all members who work with Legal Aid.



MAG notice regarding civil justice reforms

Good afternoon – earlier today, MAG sent us the following notice to all in the legal profession:

On January 1, 2020, important civil justice reforms will come into effect. The reforms were introduced through:

  1. A regulation filed on October 23, 2019 to increase the Small Claims Court monetary jurisdiction (O. Reg 343-19 amending O. Reg. 626/00 pursuant to the Courts of Justice Act, s.53(1)).
  2. A regulation filed on October 23, 2019 to amend civil court rules relating to Simplified Procedure (O. Reg 344-19 amending the Rules of Civil Procedure pursuant to the Courts of Justice Act).
  3. Bill 100, the Protecting what Matters Most Act (Budget Measures) 2019, which passed on May 29, 2019 (amends s.108 of the Courts of Justice Act by eliminating civil jury trials in Simplified Procedure actions)

Please also note that a regulation filed on October 23, 2019 amends the Rules of the Small Claims Court court forms relating to garnishment proceedings (O. Reg 345-19). The court forms are available on the CSD court forms website.

This information can also be found on FOLA’s website.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director


Re: Overnight arrests by video

We had a meeting on Friday September 27th with a majority of stakeholders to see how the revised changes to Bail was going.  The project appears to be working by reducing the number of prisoners being brought to the court house but what we did identify, was a work flow issue.. The end result will be that we will be switching SB2 and SB3.

Effective Monday October 21st, All Bail matters will be moved into SB2 Starting at 930 am, where the video suite is located and will deal with overnight arrests, video from the various Detention centres and regular bail matters, if I can describe them as that.

Case Management Court will be moved into SB3 with a 900 am start and once Case Management Court has been completed it will become a Bail Assist Court with IPBC taking priority on Mondays and Thursdays at 130 pm.

It is believed that this will assist Court Support Staff with Docket and Information preparation and ensure that proper breaks are given throughout the day.

Signage and the information counter on the first floor will be prepared to advise the public of these changes.

I will be preparing revised Protocols for both SB2 and SB3 and hopefully have them distributed by weeks end.

Also please feel free to share this message with anyone else who would have an interest in this matter.

Thank you,



Local Administrative Justice of the Peace Niagara

SB2 Case Management Video Bail Best Practices Protocol 20191021

SB3 Case Management IPBC 20101021

Changes to LAO Duty Counsel Program

FOLA received notice yesterday from Legal Aid Ontario about changes that are coming in the duty counsel program, effective July 7th.

The lists of what duty counsel will do/won’t do are attached.

The central changes are as follows, though the detail is really in the service guides:

  • Criminal duty counsel: duty counsel will continue to serve in-custody accused without financially testing as always, but will serve only financially and legally eligible clients for out-of-custody accused.  Duty counsel won’t be providing dedicated courtroom services (ie staffing courtrooms all day) except for bail court.  However, duty counsel will continue to go into court (not trial courts, of course) to serve legally and financially eligible clients.
  • Family duty counsel: duty counsel will assist clients with some aspects of Motions to Change, and will provide in-court service to financially and legally eligible clients in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Unified Family Court.
  • Agency work: duty counsel will provide routine agency work for lawyers on certificate matters.

As a practising lawyer, with over 25 years experience, and with my practice restricted, by choice, to criminal law for well over half my career, please, accept this personal note of encouragement.  I can say that in reviewing the DC restrictions rather than enhancement of DC services we, the practising Certificate counsel Bar, should see a wee glimmer of positivity as this is good for us and not as harmful as anticipated.   In the meanwhile, I as FOLA LAO chair, and Katie Robinette, FOLA’s Executive Director, plan to continue to actively participate with the Alliance for the Sustainability of Legal Aid (ASLA).   The next meeting is Tuesday next.  We and other stakeholders are seeking a course of action to address your concerns.

Terry Brandon

FOLA Legal Aid Chair

Service Guide 2019 – CRIMINAL

 Service Guide 2019 – FAMILY

Civil Claims Online Survey

Do you file civil case documents? Tell us how Civil Claims Online can work better for you.

Since November 2017, Ontarians have been able to file select civil case documents online, 24/7 using the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Civil Claims Online service.

We want to hear from you

As current and potential users, your input is crucial for making this service a success. We created a survey to get a better understanding of how you currently use the service, what you like about it and where we can improve.

Please respond to the survey by March 22, 2019. We truly appreciate your feedback!

Did you know?

With this service, you can file online 24/7. Filing online reduces trips to the courthouse, eliminates the need to pay for postage or courier services and reduces processing delays. Visit to learn more.

Expansion of Family Claims Online Service

Please see the attached notices in regards to the expansion of the Family Claims Online Service.

Letter LCLA Family online Feb 2019

Setting up your Justice Services Online account 2-19-2019

Our Reference #: AC-2018-273 – Expansion of the civil claims online filing service on May 28, 2018

Our Reference #: AC-2018-273

May 28, 2018

Dear Member of the Legal Community,

Expansion of the civil claims online filing service on May 28, 2018

I am writing to inform you that the civil claims online filing service has been expanded to enable the online filing of additional documents in a civil proceeding in the Superior Court of Justice. This expansion follows the successful province-wide launch of the service in November 2017.

As of May 28, 2018, it will be possible to file the following documents online through the civil claims online portal (

  • Statement of Defence (Form 18A)
  • Notice of Intent to Defend (Form 18B)
  • Statement of Claim filed following the issuance of a Notice of Action (Form 14D)
  • Proof of Service of documents that are filed online
  • Orders and Consents that are required in support of the filing of a document online

The online filing of these documents with the Superior Court of Justice has been authorized by subrule 4.05.1(2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The rules also clarify that it will not be necessary to provide the court with a paper copy of a document that was filed online unless the matter is proceeding to a hearing or conference and the party intends to rely on the document at the hearing (rule 4.05.1(6), in force May 28, 2018).

The civil claims online filing service will continue to:

  • allow the online filing of initiating documents:
    • Statement of Claim (Form 14A, 14B)
    • Notice of Action (Form 14C)
    • Affidavit of Litigation Guardian of a Plaintiff under a Disability
    • Request for Bilingual Proceedings
    • Consent to File Documents in French
  • email  court-issued Statements of Claim or Notices of Action;
  • allow online payment of court fees by credit card or Interac;
  • allow a user to track online filing fee payments, submissions and draft submissions; and
  • save work in progress and return to drafts in order to submit the request for filing at a later time.

If you are interested in arranging an online information session for your members about the expanded civil claims online filing service, please send an email to

Please share any comments about the service with Vaia Pappas, Director of the Operational Support Branch at


Sheila Bristo

Assistant Deputy Attorney General

Court Services Division

AC-2018-273 letter to legal community



New Practice Direction-effective April 3rd,2018

Please see the link below in regards to a new practice direction relating to Long Motions in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Welland.

Welland – Electronic Long Motions Memo to Law Associations

Memo to Counsel Re: CAS Trial Scheduling Conferences and Forms

Please find below a copy of a memo which was distributed to counsel by Justice MacPherson on May 24th, 2017.

CAS trial scheduling conferences and forms MEMO_201705241430

Provincial Practice Direction regarding criminal proceedings in the Superior Court effective May 1, 2017

The Superior Court of Justice has established a new Provincial Practice Direction Regarding Criminal Proceedings, which will be in effect as of May 1, 2017.  Please see the attached notice for more information and links.

Announcement re SCJ Criminal Practice Direction