LAO initiates pilot to support lawyer-client relationship in major criminal cases

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

When conflicts arise in the relationship between a client and lawyer, the client may decide to switch lawyers. If their matter is a major criminal case, the cost of the case will then increase substantially.

To reduce these costs — and the number of change of solicitor requests — Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is launching a 90-day pilot process that benefits lawyers, clients and the justice system.

In the past, when clients asked to change lawyers for such cases, LAO complied. Now case managers from LAO’s Provincial Case Management Office will review such requests from clients who request a change of solicitor on homicide cases and cases that cost over $20,000. LAO will then attempt, where possible, to resolve issues between lawyers and clients.

Once the case manager has reviewed the request, they will contact the lawyer to discuss the client’s complaint and see what can be done to meet the client’s expectations. If this approach does not succeed, the case manager will contact the client, ask for further details, and develop a strategy that takes both parties’ expectations into consideration and will, hopefully solve the problem.

LAO expects the new process will not only reduce the number of requests, it will also help maintain the continuity of client-solicitor relationships, and resolve these cases faster.


For questions or further information, please contact:

Kristy Laverty
Coordinator, Case Management & Litigation
Legal Aid Ontario
Phone: 416 979-2352, ext. 6482