LAO Newsroom

Deadline now Aug. 8 to weigh in on family law conflict management pilot

Posted: Monday, July 14, 2014

We are extending our deadline to Aug. 8 for your input on our pilot for managing conflicts of interest for family law services. We value feedback from the family bar, and want to be sure we provide an opportunity for all concerned lawyers to share their views.

Pilot background

Since October 2012, LAO family lawyers have been managing organizational conflicts of interest in four Ontario court locations that provide family services by:

  • telling clients that other staff who work for or on behalf of LAO may assist the opposite side of their matter and
  • asking those clients to sign a consent form indicating they understand that there is potential for an organizational conflict of interest — meaning an LAO family lawyer may help the person on the other side of their case — before providing service.

This approach helps us balance the need for efficient brief services with the need to inform clients of potential organizational conflict issues in cases where lawyers would have substantial knowledge of a client’s case. The pilot program allows us to assist as many family law clients as possible, while protecting their interests. It also helps us support our staff and service providers meet their professional obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct.

What we’re asking

We have heard from the LSUC and some family lawyers, but would like to provide all of you with every opportunity to provide us with your feedback by Aug. 8 on:

  1. the current process
  2. potentially modifying the process to requesting client consent only for enhanced services such as:
    • preparing court documents
    • making efforts to assist the client on each court appearance
    • providing assistance that requires meeting with clients between court dates (for example, to prepare additional court documents)
  3. the prospect of rolling this program out province-wide.

Learn more

Please provide feedback

Please provide your comments or questions via email or fax, by Aug. 8, 2014 to:

Roderick Bennett, Manager, Legal Services Development
Legal Aid Ontario
Fax: (416) 979-8669