Sidney B. Linden Award presented to Timothy Lutes

Published: June 19, 2020

In a virtual ceremony at the Legal Aid Ontario board meeting on June 19, 2020, Timothy Lutes, a staff lawyer working in LAO’s Provincial Case Management Office, was formally honoured with the Sidney B. Linden Award.

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. This year’s ceremony was cancelled due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. The virtual ceremony finally honoured Tim with his award. Tim will also be given an in‑person presentation at next year’s ceremony.

Legal Aid Ontario chair Charles Harnick said of Tim’s achievement, “There were so many references for Tim from the private bar, the judiciary and the Crown attorneys. However, what struck me most in talking with Tim since he received this award is his humility, his decency, and his openness to others. LAO is lucky to have such a dedicated servant as Timothy Lutes. Through his achievements, Tim honours everyone who works at LAO.”

We are pleased to offer Timothy Lutes’s speech to the LAO board.

Remarks by Timothy J. Lutes

Chairman Harnick, President and CEO Field, The Honourable Justice Sidney B. Linden, Members of The Board, distinguished guests, family, friends and colleagues:

I am so very honoured to be in your presence and to accept this most cherished acknowledgement, the 2019 Sidney B. Linden Award. This is most unexpected. Being nominated is in itself deeply overwhelming! I am so very humbled by all whom have given such exceedingly kind support.

Since the inaugural presentation for 2005, the Sidney B. Linden Award has been appropriately regarded as reflective of The Honourable Justice Sidney B. Linden himself. It is very difficult to imagine myself even close for consideration of inclusion in that category.

I am not a great orator by any means. In fact, for the most part, words are foreign to me. I listen, observe and process. I also know not to speak if nothing more need be said. However, I digress, albeit briefly.

I applaud the dedication and excellence of the private bar in their continued and professional representation of the most vulnerable members of society.

My employment with LAO has afforded me the opportunity to involve in the representation of clients with the most learned of the private bar, involvement that includes but is certainly not limited to:

  • Challenges to and developments in Constitutional Law
  • Enforcement of Rights guaranteed under The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • The application of and challenges to science in client defence;
  • Developments in the law respecting diversity and race including the application of developing social mores and understanding such as represented by studies like Impact of Race and Cultural Assessment (IRCA) Reports
  • A much-needed expansion of awareness and funding respecting Mental Health and how same is currently being addressed but more importantly needs to be addressed within the judicial system

The here and now requires special attention. Over the past several weeks we have found ourselves in a crisis that few have ever seen and hopefully the likes of which is never seen again, COVID‑19. I know you join me when I say we express our heartfelt gratitude to front line workers, as we do daily and as we should, and not just at times like this but always.

During these troublesome circumstances and for which we join today in the fashion that we are, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the so many involved in the Judicial System. Tireless efforts are evident everywhere in providing continued and needed access to justice.

I can and do shout out to the Criminal Lawyers’ Association under the stewardship of President John Struthers, all of the Courts for Ontario (ONCA, SCJ, OCJ) under the leadership of Chief Justices Strathy, Morawetz and Maisonneuve, All Court Staff, Corrections and Correction Officers.

I will not be remiss. No one and no association has provided more than LAO under the seemingly untiring energy of President and CEO David Field, the LAO executive and the LAO family.

I could and perhaps should address:

  • The needs for more and appropriate funding to sustain and address the present and expanding demands on legal aid
  • The strain caused by unforeseen events such as COVID‑19
  • The recognition of diversity and inclusion and the leadership role to be provided by LAO
  • The recognition and application of technological advancement and needs for the operation of meaningful and efficient access to justice.

These and much more warrant immediate attention and action, not ‘in the future’. For now, suffice that I make this reference.

My unending appreciation for All!

Thank You and Be Most Very Well!