Client services improving thanks to LAO courthouse offices
Friday, November 22, 2013
In June 2008, the Ministry of the Attorney General announced its Justice on Target (JOT) Initiative to reduce court delays and appearances by 30 per cent over the subsequent four years. Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is working in partnership with the Ministry to support this initiative, and LAO’s President, Bob Ward, now sits on the JOT expert panel. Among our initiatives:
- LAO integrated legal aid services in local criminal court operations through the LAO in the Courthouse initiative, which ran from 2008 to 2011. This initiative expanded the number of criminal courts where clients could apply for legal aid from eight court locations across the province in 2008 to 56 sites in 2010. As a result:
- more than 95 per cent of Ontario’s criminal legal aid clients can now apply for legal aid in the courts.
- 57 JOT sites are currently open and reporting across the province.
- 48 new LAO offices were established at court sites across the province since 2008, serving over 50,000 clients since inception.
- 34,246 clients were served at LAO in the courthouse sites in Q1 2013/14. This is a 4 per cent increase from Q4 2012/13.
- the same day decision rate is 81 per cent
- 22 of the 57 sites this quarter had a same-day decision rate of 85 per cent or higher, and 30 sites maintained or increased their same-day decision rate.
- LAO launched a Holistic Court-Based Services initiative to strategically align and stabilize service provision at court sites. The project aims to improve client service and support efficiency and effectiveness at LAO court sites, as well as promote an integrated approach to service expansion.
- LAO developed a Simplified Financial Eligibility Test (SFET) in 2011 to support JOT by enabling LAO clients to move forward with their legal matters more quickly. Financial eligibility information is available online and at all LAO service points, allowing clients and LAO staff to quickly determine eligibility for a legal aid certificate.
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