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Political Issues This forum is for discussing the political aspects of divorce: reform to divorce laws, men's rights, women's rights, injustices in the divorce system, etc.

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Old 11-19-2013, 09:13 PM
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Default Clipping Legal Aid's wings

Just sharing some frustrations....

When Legal Aid funds a client in court, and that client discloses an income $15K above the LA threshold in their financials, that the client should be forced to repay 100% of the money. And be cut off Legal Aid for good.

When a Legal Aid "qualifying" client shows complete contempt for a court order (obtained using Legal Aid money), withholding access, etc, causing the other party to have to bring a court action for enforcement of the order, should Legal Aid be paying for a lawyer to enable this party in contempt to keep doing this?

When Legal Aid funds a matter that their client has little chance of success, or has taken an unreasonable position/ acted unreasonably with - why aren't they on the hook when their client loses and costs are awarded to the other party? If Legal Aid was on the hook, they would look much more carefully at the reasonableness of their client's positions, ya?

And why is it, that if costs are awarded to a Legal Aid client (paid by the non- Legal Aid party), the costs order is still worded so the money gets paid to the Legal Aid client, instead of back to Legal Aid? Something wrong here maybe?

Who is REALLY watching Legal Aid, anyhow?

And what, if anything, can be done to clip Legal Aid's wings?
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:45 PM
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I think the operative word here is "aid" and it is misused by many.

Look at it like your ex is self-represented (like mine is from time to time). He can run up my bill by simply filing his numerous motions in the wrong court. I still have to pay my lawyer.

When we hire lawyers we are ultimately responsible to pay them. If money is awarded (support or costs) the money goes to us. We have to pay the lawyers as it doesn't go to them unless it is an equalization and the funds are held in a trust account at our lawyers' offices. Lawyers usually make sure that their fees are paid straight-away before we see the balance. Judges are lawyers and they protect their colleagues this way.

I believe that LA is a certificate for xx hours of SUBSIDISED legal aid. Not everyone gets LA for free. It is dependant upon your income.

If a LA lawyer has misrepresented the facts then that lawyer is bound by the same regulations as any other lawyer.

As stated in other threads on this forum, you can run up your ex's LA hours by simply sending useless, numerous letters to the lawyer demanding response. My ex tried the same tactic with my lawyer when he was self-represented. Knowing if/when to take the bait is important.

LA like any lawyer can obtain court orders but ultimately has no control over their clients actions. They make recommendations to their client who may or may not adhere to their advice.
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
Just sharing some frustrations....

When Legal Aid funds a client in court, and that client discloses an income $15K above the LA threshold in their financials, that the client should be forced to repay 100% of the money. And be cut off Legal Aid for good.

When a Legal Aid "qualifying" client shows complete contempt for a court order (obtained using Legal Aid money), withholding access, etc, causing the other party to have to bring a court action for enforcement of the order, should Legal Aid be paying for a lawyer to enable this party in contempt to keep doing this?

When Legal Aid funds a matter that their client has little chance of success, or has taken an unreasonable position/ acted unreasonably with - why aren't they on the hook when their client loses and costs are awarded to the other party? If Legal Aid was on the hook, they would look much more carefully at the reasonableness of their client's positions, ya?

And why is it, that if costs are awarded to a Legal Aid client (paid by the non- Legal Aid party), the costs order is still worded so the money gets paid to the Legal Aid client, instead of back to Legal Aid? Something wrong here maybe?

Who is REALLY watching Legal Aid, anyhow?

And what, if anything, can be done to clip Legal Aid's wings?
A costs award against someone using legal aid is supposed to go back into legal aid. But this would also indicate that the legal aid recipient "won" and the one paying the lawyer "lost" - no?
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:02 PM
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Damn those lawyers. It's all their fault that my ex lied on financial disclosure. My ex has no independent thought and lawyer forced the signature on the affidavit. It's a conspiracy!
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:15 PM
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My ex thought that he could bring a contempt motion against a legal aid supported mother of his child (and not me) without concern for a "costs award" against, because since she wasn't paying - why would he?

He got a shock when the judge denied the contempt and awarded costs against.
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
When Legal Aid funds a client in court, and that client discloses an income $15K above the LA threshold in their financials, that the client should be forced to repay 100% of the money. And be cut off Legal Aid for good.
Actually, that is a clear violation of LASA.

Legal Aid Services Act, 1998 - O. Reg. 107/99

It isn't uncommon that people defraud legal aid by failing to report their RRSPs available to them and/or their employment income.

Justice Pazaratz had this to say:
59. With Legal Aid tightening eligibility rules, it is likely that just about any litigant retaining counsel on a certificate will have trouble paying costs if they lose. But combining a “free lawyer” with a perceived immunity from costs is a dangerous mix. Dangerous for opposing litigants. Dangerous for children like |this child|, whose lives are needlessly disrupted by bitter and unnecessary litigation. And dangerous for a Family Court system whose resources are already strained.

61. Encouraging settlement and discouraging inappropriate behaviour by litigants is important in all litigation – but particularly in family law, and most particularly in custody cases. No litigant should perceive they have “wings” – the ability to say or do anything they want in court, without consequences.
The LOA Client should have to not only return the funds in full but, the lawyer should be investigated. Per the Family Law Rules litigants are required to provide a sworn affidavit (Form 13/13.1) and if this affidavit was commissioned by the lawyer then this lawyer also has a responsibility to report that their client doesn't qualify for a certificate.

What family law lawyer represents a client without knowing the full financial disclosure of their client... As an officer of the court they should be made to respect Rule 13 of the Family Law Rules which requires FULL AND FRANK FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
When a Legal Aid "qualifying" client shows complete contempt for a court order (obtained using Legal Aid money), withholding access, etc, causing the other party to have to bring a court action for enforcement of the order, should Legal Aid be paying for a lawyer to enable this party in contempt to keep doing this?
As a public not-for-profit organization whom themselves conduct "Settlement Conferences" they should be required to represent the public interest... Not the LOA Client's interest. They should be a funding service only and run as a financial institute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
When Legal Aid funds a matter that their client has little chance of success, or has taken an unreasonable position/ acted unreasonably with - why aren't they on the hook when their client loses and costs are awarded to the other party?
That is a good question... I think that there is a decision coming forward some time in the future that will have to ponder this very question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
If Legal Aid was on the hook, they would look much more carefully at the reasonableness of their client's positions, ya?
The Ontario Ombudsman wants just this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
And why is it, that if costs are awarded to a Legal Aid client (paid by the non- Legal Aid party), the costs order is still worded so the money gets paid to the Legal Aid client, instead of back to Legal Aid? Something wrong here maybe?
Oh because that is covered under LASA... The client contract with LOA requires them to pay it to LOA...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
Who is REALLY watching Legal Aid, anyhow?
The Ombudsman...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
And what, if anything, can be done to clip Legal Aid's wings?
Raise your concerns with the Ombudsman and your MPP and provide the cogent and relevant evidence in support of your complaint.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS Mom View Post
My ex thought that he could bring a contempt motion against a legal aid supported mother of his child (and not me) without concern for a "costs award" against, because since she wasn't paying - why would he?

He got a shock when the judge denied the contempt and awarded costs against.
Your ex sounds really smrt...

Contempt motions without legal counsel is never a good idea...
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Old 12-06-2013, 04:00 PM
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I think that Legal Aid needs to be more precise and inclusive with calculating a person's income as well.

An example:

Someone who goes back to school under the Second Career's program, can get about $20k in forgivable loans. This is to cover living expenses, food, etc. - things you income would normally be used for if you worked.

The lawyer includes it as a loan on the financials, so it looks like the person takes on the debt. But the reality is that as long as they finish the program, it is actually $20k income, because the loan is forgivable.

I have inquired to legal aid about this, with no response. I could press and press and maybe get some answer - but there are only so many fights worth fighting, and it's easy to get distracted from what I should be focusing on.
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Old 12-06-2013, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByMyself View Post
I think that Legal Aid needs to be more precise and inclusive with calculating a person's income as well.
When you apply for LOA services... You should be consenting to LOA having the ability to allow LOA retrieve your full financial details. They should really integrate with the system of banking better as many people will fudge their applications to get a certificate.

The real thing you haven't raised yet... Which is the most troubling...

When someone gets an LOA certificate that shouldn't be because they surpass the income threshold... This takes money from someone else and puts someone at significant risk. More than it just being financially fraudulent conduct in contravention of LASA but, it is ethically and morally fraudulent on our society.

Someone earning well over the threshold income should really be ashamed of themselves... Especially if they used the funds to bring forward a frivolous lawsuit against another party and dragged their children into unnecessary litigation. This just demonstrates incredibly bad parental judgement to do something like this...

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
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Your ex sounds really smrt...

Contempt motions without legal counsel is never a good idea...
Sad thing is Tayken, he has legal counsel. I've posted about my concerns on his lawyer before. They make some bone-head moves, and I have to wonder if the lawyer isn't taking him for a long ride down retirement road.
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