2nd Judicial Pre-Trial (JPT) pilot project to begin in 15 locations across Ontario
Friday May 27, 2016
Legal Aid Ontario is beginning a pilot project to implement the newly developed Ontario Court of Justice Judicial Pre-Trial (JPT) Best Practices. One of the best practices requires a follow-up case management event no later than ten weeks before a trial date. This pilot project comes out of the recent Ontario Court of Justice Criminal Justice Modernization Committee that was co-chaired by Chief Justice Maisonneuve and Deputy Attorney General Monahan.
LAO is working with the Ontario Court of Justice, criminal defence bar and the Ministry of the Attorney General on a pilot project at fifteen locations across the province. At these locations, LAO will provide funding for defence counsel who conduct a second JPT or similarly substantive second case management event. After consultation across the province, the sites selected are:
- College Park
- Durham (Oshawa)
- Halton (Milton)
- North York
- Old City Hall
- Thunder Bay
Pilot funding commenced on April 1, 2016 and conclude on March 31, 2018. The results of the pilot project will be used to determine whether LAO will expand funding of such second case management events across the province.
The Ontario Court of Justice has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine the nature of the second case management event that is undertaken at any courthouse as part of the Best Practices. However, as part of its significant support of this initiative, LAO is only able to fund second events that are either a second JPT or a similarly substantial second case management event. The pilot project does not apply to focus hearings or preliminary inquiries. To attract LAO funding, a second case management event will need to meet the following criteria:
- The second JPT or substantially similar second event is set on or after April 1, 2016;
- Parties in attendance have authority and preparedness to make the key decisions on a file;
- A meaningful review of the file occurs;
- Charter applications are identified/confirmed etc.;
- Positions on possible resolution, where appropriate, have been communicated;
- Time estimates are reviewed and confirmed;
- Witness availability and attendance confirmed;
- Legal issues identified and any admissions agreed upon.
LAO is in the process of streamlining the billing process enhancing Legal Aid Online so as to allow lawyers who are required to attend either a second JPT or a similarly substantial event in one of the piloted locations to automatically amend their certificates to obtain up to an additional two hours to bill for these events. LAO has agreed to compensate defence counsel an additional 2 hours of tariff for those cases where a second JPT or a “similarly substantial second event” takes place. LAO will be contacting counsel in a separate email about billing in the next 3-4 weeks.
Director, Policy and Strategic Research