Information for lawyers

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.

Ongoing annual professional development is necessary to maintain panel membership.

Legal Aid Ontario’s panel standards were developed in consultation with:

  • members of the refugee, criminal and family bars
  • duty counsel
  • lawyers practising before the Consent and Capacity Board
  • judges
  • lawyers' associations
  • Law Society of Upper Canada

The panels

Find more information and application forms for each of the panels:

Panel lawyers throughout Ontario

Ontario had 5,007 panel lawyers eligible to take certificates, as of Sept. 25, 2014. The chart below shows how many lawyers were on each panel, as of Sept. 25, 2014. Please note that lawyers can serve on more than one panel.

Panel lawyers

Type of panel

Number of lawyers

Administrative Board / Tribunal 1,097
Consent & Capacity Board 345
Complex Criminal Rate 116
Child and Family Services Act 1,415
Civil litigation 1,206
Collaborative family law 22
Criminal 2,850
Extremely serious matters 861
Family 2,287
Gladue 1,361
Mental health 183
O’Connor Mills 165
Ontario Review Board 563
Other duty counsel 5
Refugee 668

New lawyers

Lawyers new to an area of practice may be admitted conditionally to a panel provided they agree to acquire the necessary experience within a specified time frame, and take approved continuing legal education or be mentored as required by their district area director. (This conditional admission does not apply to the Extremely Serious Criminal Matters panel or the Complex Case Rate (CCR) panel.)

Request for panel membership

To apply for panel membership, you must complete the lawyer empanelment forms (below), and submit it to your district area director (or supervisory duty counsel for duty counsel panels) for approval. Read the General Terms and Conditions before you apply.


Empanelment application forms

Lawyer Empanelment form

Direct deposit authorization for business accounts

Change in direct deposit authorization for business accounts

Application form for tier level increase

Lawyer change of information form

Request for change to panel membership

Criminal panel forms

Criminal panel application

Criminal panel lawyer agreement to acquire experience

Criminal Gladue panel application

Extremely Serious Criminal Matters (ESM) panel application

ESM Panel application: References

Complex Case Rate (CCR) panel application

Complex Case Rate (CCR) case eligibility application

Family/CFSA panel forms

Family panel application

Family panel lawyer agreement to acquire experience

Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) sub-panel application

Refugee application forms

Refugee and immigration standards form

Consent & Capacity Board application forms

Consent and Capacity Board panel application

Specialty panel letter

Duty Consel panel forms

Duty Counsel Panel Application: Criminal Duty Counsel

Duty Counsel Panel Application: Family Duty Counsel and FLIC Advice Lawyer

Duty Counsel Panel Application: Advice Lawyer - General

Duty Counsel Panel Application: Advice Lawyer - Domestic Violence

Duty Counsel Panel Application: Advice Lawyer - Mental Health, Refugee and Immigration, Correctional Institutions


Release of information for Law Society of Upper Canada and/or other law society

Release of information form for Lawyer's Profssional Indemnity Company


For more information on panel standards, please contact your local district area director. The panel standards were developed by Legal Aid Ontario's Quality Service Office.

Contact the LAO Finance department, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by phone at 416-979-2352 (Susan Howling at ext. 6487 or Julia Marinucci at ext. 6252) or by fax at 647-260-0548 if you have questions about:

  • Fully completed applications that have been approved by district offices
  • Tier level increases
  • Maintaining vendor records (address changes, updating banking information, etc.)
  • HST refunds
  • Government/legal garnishment
  • Solicitor electronic fund transfer (bank EFT) rejects

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