Judge-Led Intensive Case Management Court certificates
Published: October 29, 2021
The Judge-Led Intensive Case Management Court (JICMC) is an important initiative, established by partners in the justice system, to eliminate the extensive case backlog as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The JICMC certificates are for the accused who are ineligible, either financially or legally, for Legal Aid’s existing certificate program. These are not Legal Aid clients.
The JICMC initiative supports the unrepresented accused facing criminal charges, who would otherwise have no lawyer and no source of case-specific legal information and advice. These individuals will now have access to legal information, and representation during the early stages of their case.
- Lawyers providing JICMC certificates answer questions, explain the legal process and the options for dealing with the charges, and provide representation through the judicial pretrial phase.
- Lawyers providing JICMC certificates can also negotiate resolutions including the withdrawal of charges, diversion, peace bonds or guilty pleas.
- Accused receiving JICMC certificates are provided with legal information and advice which helps them to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case and what to expect at trial. The more informed the accused, the more confidence they will have in deciding to set self-represented trial date instead of pleading guilty.
- As with LAO’s existing block fee certificates for guilty pleas and withdrawals, a lawyer’s duty is, if a guilty plea is appropriate, to ensure that the accused understands the consequences of that decision and to inform the accused of other potential options. As in all cases, whether legally aided or not, the choice as to whether to plead guilty will remain with the accused.
- The JICMC payment structure, does not incentivize counsel to advise the accused to enter a guilty plea as opposed to proceeding to trial. Counsel will be paid the same block fee regardless of the result achieved; withdrawal, guilty plea, or decision to proceed to trial.
- The value of these certificates is $1055, the equivalent of about 7-8 hours of certificate work at Legal Aid Ontario rates.
- The JICMC certificate is separately funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General to address the backlog in courts. It does not impact LAO’s budget or existing services.
Legal Aid Ontario supports the JICMC initiative. By providing the administrative infrastructure required to deliver vital services to unrepresented individuals facing criminal charges. Without this service, these individuals would be forced to deal with the courts, and the Crown attorneys seeking to prosecute them, on their own without the benefit of legal advice about their rights, their options, and the consequences of the decisions they must make about their case.
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