Legal aid panels
Consent & capacity board panel standards
Mandatory Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) training shall be a prerequisite to CCB panel membership.
Applicants to the CCB panel shall be required to attend or view Continuing Legal Education (CLE) in the basics of advocacy before the Consent and Capacity Board, before being admitted to the panel, and shall participate in CLE thereafter as required by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO). Contact your district area director for more information.
Panel members shall comply with LAO's expectations for panel members as set out in a "LAO Expectations for Consent and Capacity Panel Members" document.
Panel applicants shall be required to sign an agreement to abide by the practice expectations set out by LAO in the "LAO Expectations for Consent and Capacity Panel Members" document that articulates the best practices of an advocate before the CCB. (See Schedule A)
New applicants to the CCB panel shall observe at least one CCB hearing prior to appearing before the CCB for a LAO client.
The local district area director shall have discretion to exempt a panel member from this requirement if local conditions make observation of a hearing impracticable.
Consent and Capacity panel members shall have minimum related experience.
To maintain membership on the CCB panel, a panel member shall have accepted a minimum of 3 retainers for CCB cases in the previous two years and shall maintain a caseload of at least 3 such retainers every two years.
The district area director has discretion to exempt a panel member from this requirement if local conditions make it impracticable or if the district area director is satisfied that the panel member has the necessary knowledge and skill.
Admission to the CCB panel
To be admitted to the Consent and Capacity Panel, applicants shall sign an agreement to comply with the standards set out by LAO for consent and capacity panel lawyers.
Consideration of local conditions
A district area director may apply the minimum standards in a flexible manner, on the basis of local conditions, taking into consideration local practices and the need to maintain or rebuild the consent and capacity panel to meet current needs without compromising quality of service. An applicant may be admitted to the panel by agreeing to meet standards deemed to be appropriate for the local area, which may include professional development and/or mentoring in the discretion of the district area director.
Legal Aid Ontario expectations for Consent and Capacity panel members
Although the unique nature of the CCB client group requires an individualized approach with each client, a CCB panel member shall strive to:
maintain competence in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada and, in particular, maintain knowledge of the substantive law and procedure in the area of mental health law.
respond promptly to the inquiries of rights advisers and representatives of the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) or Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) district area directors or their designates seeking counsel for a client.
make reasonable efforts to accommodate clients with special needs, including those who require interpreters.
contact the client as soon as it is practical to do so upon accepting the case.
meet with the client in person prior to the hearing (subject to exigent circumstances relating to the proximity of the retainer to the hearing and the client's willingness and ability to do so).
review the client's health record prior to the hearing (subject, again, to exigent circumstances relating to the proximity of the retainer to the hearing, the availability of such records and the client's withholding of permission to do so).
seek instructions respecting procedural matters such as the waiver of statutory time frames for the conduct of the hearing and adjournment requests.
maintain, to the fullest extent possible, a solicitor client relationship in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada. In particular the panel member will:
- treat the client with dignity;
- respond promptly to reasonable inquiries from the client;
- provide the client with the information necessary to make informed decisions respecting his or her representation;
- respect the client's instructions fully within the bounds of his or her professional obligations;
- advance the client's position; and
- maintain solicitor client privilege.
inform the client of his or her right of appeal.
inform the client of his or her right to written reasons of the Board.
make reasonable efforts to inform the client of the decision of the Board and to explain the implications of the decision.
Cooperate, where authorized to do so by the client, with a successor lawyer in respect of any appeal brought by the client.
upon accepting a certificate in respect of an appeal, provide his or her opinion to the LAO Area Committee respecting the merits of the appeal in a timely manner.
respond promptly to communications from the LAO district area director respecting complaints.