For family lawyers
LAO is addressing the legal needs of family litigants as part of its larger, long‑term strategy to improve access to justice for low‑income Ontarians, as follows:
LAO is providing advice earlier by expanding its early resolution services.
Providing advice earlier can help clients avoid difficult and costly litigation in the family justice system.
LAO is providing holistic and integrated services.
Holistic, integrated services are the best possible means of support for families in crisis, which tend to suffer clusters of interrelated problems.
Legal aid panels
Lawyers who represent legal aid clients must belong to the panel(s) for the type(s) of law they practice. The standards for each panel provide the minimum experience and professional development requirements that lawyers must meet. Panel standards help ensure that legal aid clients receive high‑quality services.
A road map for panel lawyers
We have developed a manual to help guide panel lawyers through their working relationship with Legal Aid Ontario. Please read it closely. It includes details and hyperlinks for all the facts we think you need to provide legal services to LAO clients. Go to A road map for certificate and duty counsel lawyers.
Second chair program
This program for private bar lawyers working on LAO-funded cases supports hands‑on training for junior lawyers and paid mentorship opportunities for senior lawyers. Learn more.
For family disputes, LAO provides family case management for:
- Child, Youth and Family Services Act (with the exception of supervision order) matters likely to cost more than $8,000
- Family/domestic cases likely to cost more than $12,000
Extended society care matters are eligible for case management where the certificate was issued prior to February 3, 2020. All other CYFSA and domestic family certificates issued on or after February 3, 2020 are eligible for case management.
LAO will continue consulting with clients, the private bar, community clinics and community service providers on avenues for resolving family law disputes.
LAO analyzed lawyer billing patterns from January 2012 to December 2013. LAO estimates that going forward, 90 per cent of the cases for which lawyers would have once applied for discretion, will now be covered under the enhanced tariff. The enhanced child protection…