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Today, the Law Society launched a call for comment on a draft regulatory framework that would permit lawyers and paralegals to provide legal services through registered, civil society organizations (CSOs), such as charities and not-for-profit organizations — to the clients of those organizations.
Presented by the Law Society’s Alternative Business Structures Working Group, the framework is designed as a way of facilitating access to justice for Ontarians – particularly individuals who may have legal issues, but who have traditionally faced barriers to receiving legal advice from a lawyer or paralegal.
The framework was developed following Convocation’s approval in principle of this policy in September 2017. Comments may be submitted via email or mail (see information below) until January 18, 2019.
Based on the input received, the working group will refine the framework and plans to present a final framework for Convocation’s consideration in early 2019.
If the draft regulatory framework is approved, then the Law Society will update the Lawyer and Paralegal Annual Reports as necessary for the 2019 annual reporting year, and develop practice supports for licensees working in CSOs.
The draft regulatory framework features the following:
- guidelines for potential civil society registrants, as well as a registration process and annual filing requirement
- rule changes that highlight the competency requirements for delivering services through CSOs, and prohibiting licensees from charging clients a fee or accepting a referral fee
- by-law changes outlining the CSO registration and de-registration process, as well as the professional liability insurance requirements and the prohibition of fees being charged for the services as well as referral fees
- insurance requirements for licensees providing services to third-party clients of CSOs.
See the Alternative Business Structures Working Group’s October report for more information.
Written input may be sent via email to:
Mr. Juda Strawczynski,? Strategic Policy Counsel, at JStrawcz@lso.ca
Written submissions may also be sent via mail to:
Alternative Business Structures Working Group
Law Society of Ontario
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6