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Responses to recent media enquiries

LAO Newsroom

Big Cases: LAO responds to questions from the Globe and Mail

Friday, April 15, 2011

Legal Aid Ontario provided the following information in response to an enquiry received March 3, 2011


1. How many murder appeals do you fund a year? What are the most recent figures? Are there ones from 10 years earlier?

Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) funded an average of 35 appeals to the Ontario Court of Appeal, and an average of 10 to the Supreme Court of Canada per year.

Since last April, Legal Aid Ontario has funded 49 appeals to the Ontario Court of Appeal and 12 to the Supreme Court of Canada.


2. How many are funded under Big Case?

Legal Aid Ontario funded an average of 18 appeals per year under Big Cases to the Ontario Court of Appeal, and an average of 1 appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada between 2005-06 and 2009-10.

Since last April, Legal Aid Ontario has funded 6 appeals under Big Cases to the Ontario Court of Appeal, and 4 to the Supreme Court of Canada


3. What does average murder appeal cost? The range?

About $11,300 is the average cost for murder appeals under non-Big Case and $56,000for Big Cases.


4. What if any is the max, or cap, for a murder appeal?

According to the Ontario Regulation 11.2(b) in the Legal Aid Services Act, 1998, lawyers can work a maximum of 37 hours for all services, not including attendance in court on hearing of appeal.


5. What's process to decide which murder appeals are funded? Who, if anyone, scrutinizes the grounds of appeal?

As required under the Legal Aid Services Act (LASA), Legal Aid Ontario has established district-based area committees to review all appeals. This means that the district area committees consider the case information, whether the type of case is covered by Legal Aid Ontario, if the applicant is financially eligible and any other written information provided the applicant.

Appeals are considered within three days of receipt and applicants receive a written response within approximately 2 weeks

According to Section 28. (1) of the Legal Aid Services Act an area director may issue a certificate only with the approval of the area committee in respect of an appeal proceeding


6. How many proposed murder appeals were turned down in year for which most recent figures available?

While some are turned down, the majority of cases are approved if they have sufficient legal merit and are likely to succeed.