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LAO Launches Gladue panel standards March 1, 2011

Posted on: Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is launching panel standards for lawyers who accept legal aid certificates to represent Aboriginal clients in criminal matters. The standards are the next in a series of panel standards LAO is implementing as part of its commitment to ensure that all clients receive high quality legal aid services.

As of March 1, 2011, only lawyers who meet the Gladue standards, have applied for panel membership through a district area office, and have been admitted to the Gladue panel can acknowledge criminal certificates for Aboriginal clients.

During the consultation that led to the development of LAO Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS), LAO heard that some lawyers providing legal service to Aboriginal clients lacked awareness of aboriginal specific legal issues. To address this issue, LAO developed the Gladue panel standards in consultation with Aboriginal legal practitioners and members of the Criminal Panel.

The Gladue panel standards require knowledge of the application of Gladue principles, awareness of resources for Aboriginal clients, and compliance with best practices for the representation of an Aboriginal client in a criminal proceeding. This standard complements other points in the AJS action plan; taken together, these initiatives are intended to improve the quality of service received by LAO clients.

LAO has enhanced its supports for lawyers representing Aboriginal clients. Lawyers admitted to the Gladue panel will be sent, free of charge, the continuing legal education DVD, “Gladue at Practice CLE.” General memoranda on aboriginal legal issues in criminal law; the "Aboriginal Issues in Criminal Law" seminar on DVD (available at modest cost); Ontario Resources for Aboriginal Offenders memoranda; and research support are all available to panel members through the LAO LAW website.

All lawyers wishing to acknowledge criminal certificates for Aboriginal clients are asked to complete a Gladue panel application form and to return it to the district area office. The panel standards, a question and answer document and the panel application form are available on LAO’s website.

If you have questions, please contact your district area office.