Information for lawyers
For family lawyers
LAO is addressing the legal needs of family litigants as part of its larger, long-term strategy to improve access to justice for low-income Ontarians, as follows:
Tens of thousands of Ontarians represent themselves each year in family courts because they do not understand their rights or cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
Recent research has found that consensual dispute resolution, such as family mediation, is the single most attainable, efficient way of enhancing access to family justice.
Providing advice earlier can help clients avoid difficult and costly litigation in the family justice system.
Holistic, integrated services are the best possible means of support for families in crisis, which tend to suffer clusters of interrelated problems.
Legal aid panels
Lawyers who represent legal aid clients must belong to the panel(s) for the type(s) of law they practice. The standards for each panel provide the minimum experience and professional development requirements that lawyers must meet. Panel standards help ensure that legal aid clients receive high-quality services.
A road map for panel lawyers
We have developed a manual to help guide panel lawyers through their working relationship with Legal Aid Ontario. Please read it closely. It includes details and hyperlinks for all the facts we think you need to provide legal services to LAO clients. Go to A road map for certificate and duty counsel lawyers.
Second chair program
This program for private bar lawyers working on LAO-funded cases supports hands-on training for junior lawyers and paid mentorship opportunities for senior lawyers. Learn more.
For family disputes, LAO provides family case management for Child, Youth and Family Services Act extended society care matters likely to cost more than $8,000.
LAO will continue consulting with clients, the private bar, community clinics and community service providers on avenues for resolving family law disputes.