2019 Sidney B. Linden award goes to Timothy Lutes

Published: February 5, 2020

This year’s recipient of the Sidney B. Linden Award is Timothy Lutes, a staff lawyer with Legal Aid Ontario’s Provincial Case Management Office.

The Sidney B. Linden Award, is given by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to exceptional individuals who help low‑income Ontarians in the pursuit of access to justice.

Tim has worked in some capacity for Legal Aid Ontario for over two decades, starting as a per diem duty counsel before becoming supervisory duty counsel for Simcoe County from 2005‑2011 and then assuming his current role in 2011. Mr. Lutes manages cases as part of the Big Case Management program, which governs the most expensive and complex criminal trial defences that LAO funds.

“This is most unexpected.” Mr. Lutes said. “I am so very honoured to be the recipient of the 2019 Sidney B. Linden Award and I am so very humbled by all whom have given such exceedingly kind support. I applaud the dedication and excellence of the private bar in their continued and professional representation of the most vulnerable.”

As a case manager, Mr. Lutes determines budgets for Big Case Management and major multiple accused cases. These matters are complex and Mr. Lutes’ role sees him working with defence counsel, as well as the judiciary and Crown, in order to facilitate the smooth progression of these cases through the judicial system and to ensure that public funds are spent appropriately.

“In looking through his nomination, it became abundantly clear that Timothy Lutes has the respect of judges, defence lawyers, Crown attorneys and court staff,” said LAO Board Chair Charles Harnick. “That respect has been earned by Tim over 20 years through his hard work, diligence and compassion. We heard the story repeatedly that Tim is always available for defence counsel, at any time of day or night, to answer any questions, or to offer advice or assistance with their case. He does all this because he wants the best for clients and for the public good.”

“This is the first time a lawyer from LAO’s staff has received the award.” Mr. Harnick noted. “Through his achievement, Tim honours everyone who works at Legal Aid Ontario.”

Jeff Hershberg of Rusonick, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross & Angelini LLP, who nominated Mr. Lutes for the award, stated that “I can think of no person more deserving of this award than Tim Lutes. He clearly understands the importance of the Legal Aid plan and is very mindful of the need for it to be sustainable. His commitment to low‑income individuals is evident in the passion and dedication he brings to the profession.”

James Lockyer of Lockyer Campbell Posner said of Mr. Lutes, “Tim has been one of our case managers for almost a decade. It is a role he plays expertly, balancing the particular client’s needs against the larger overall budgetary considerations of LAO. His interest in each case extends well beyond its financing. He wants to know the intricacies of the client and the case; he acts with thoughtfulness and is conscious of the important role played by his decisions to the cause of justice. There is not a trace of cynicism or prejudice in his work. LAO is lucky to have such a dedicated servant of the people”

As counsel, Mr. Lutes has also appeared in all levels of the court system, including the Supreme Court of Canada, where he was invited to join Jill Presser and Andrew Menchynski as they successfully defended R v. Safarzedeh‑Markhali (2016). This appeal resulted in a judgment that has become important to people who come before courts for sentencing having been denied bail due to a prior conviction.

Legal Aid Ontario will honour Mr. Lutes in a ceremony in Toronto in March.

About the Award

Legal Aid Ontario’s Sidney B. Linden Award recognizes exceptional individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to helping low̴income Ontarians in the pursuit of access to justice. Named after the first chair of Legal Aid Ontario, the Sidney B. Linden award has been presented to twelve recipients previously: Mary Birdsell, Grace Pluchino, Ryan Peck, Bob Richardson, William A. (Bill) Sullivan, Fergus J. (Chip) O’Connor, Peter G. Kirby, Michael Bossin, Barbara Jackman, J. Robert Kellermann, Paul Copeland and the late Dianne Martin.