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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 09-02-2012, 01:50 AM
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Default Legal Aid Ontario and Family Law – Their Role

I am proposing a few questions to the board soliciting opinions as to what role Legal Aid Ontario as a publicly funded not-for-profit organization in the Province of Ontario should play in Family Law.

This is all predicated on the observations of the Honourable Justice Pazaratz in the often cited case law on this cite, court rooms today and public media:

Izyuk v. Bilousov, 2011 ONSC 7476 (CanLII)
Date: 2011-12-16
Docket: F2172/09
URL: CanLII - 2011 ONSC 7476 (CanLII)
Citation: Izyuk v. Bilousov, 2011 ONSC 7476 (CanLII)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Izyuk v. Bilousov, 2011 ONSC 7476 (CanLII)
1. The popular beverage has a catchy slogan: “Red Bull gives you wings.”

2. But at this costs hearing, the self-represented Respondent father suggested a wry variation: “Legal Aid gives you wings.”

3. He now seeks costs in relation to a 17 day custody trial which resulted in my 606 paragraph judgment dated November 9, 2011. He won; sole custody. The Applicant mother was represented by counsel. Her poor finances qualified her for Legal Aid. Now she says those same poor finances should excuse her from paying costs.

4. The Respondent asks a valid question: Does she have wings? Can she do whatever she wants in court, without ever worrying about fees – hers or anyone else’s?
The area of focus being if Legal Aid Ontario contains systemic issues in relation to their governing Act (Legal Aid Services Act, 1998) Legal Aid Services Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 26 namely in that:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legal Aid Services Act, 1998
Privileged communications

89.(1) All legal communications between the Corporation, an officer or employee of the Corporation, an area director or member of an area committee and an applicant for legal aid services are privileged in the same manner and to the same extent as solicitor-client communications.
My subjective observations of LOA:

1. Legal Aid Ontario is a publicly funded not-for-profit organization contributing funding only to one party to a litigation before the court.

2. Legal Aid Ontario is not publicly accountable to how the funds provided to litigants is determined for certificates and other services as Rule 89.(1) of their Act makes the financial determinations “privileged”.

3. Legal Aid Ontario is a publicly funded organization providing financial support for only one resident in the litigation possibly providing “wings”.

4. Legal Aid Ontario, an organization to provide low income citizens of Ontario with financial support is providing medical information on “intimate partner abuse” at “Family Law Information Centres” and various organizations yet, has possibly no registered clinicians in the areas of mental health (social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, et all...) on staff or contributing to this material and information.

5. Legal Aid Ontario does not distribute information regarding false allegations of intimate partner abuse and the consequences of these allegations in conjunctions with the information they are providing.

6. Legal Aid Ontario is a financial organization and not registered as a medical information provider, hospital or mental health service provider.

My questions:

(a) Should Legal Aid Ontario, as requested by the Ontario Ombudsman, be required to remove Rule 89 to insure that the public moneys given to them to conduct their business be properly assessed, as with other government agencies?

(b) Should Legal Aid Ontario be permitted to provide mental health literature, instruction and information regarding intimate partner abuse at all? Is it within their mandate of operations to do so?

(c) Should Legal Aid Ontario be required to provide mental health information (or have integrated with existing information) regarding false allegations of intimate partner abuse and child abuse and the repercussions of such allegations?

(d) Should Legal Aid Ontario be required as clearly stated in Rule 13 of the Family Law Rules to require “full and frank” financial disclosure of Applicants and be permitted the ability on application by any potential client to retrieve a full credit history, all account information, tax records and other information required under Rule 13 of the Family Law Rules?

(e) Should Legal Aid Ontario even be providing financial support in Family Law matters at all which is a dispute between two citizens and not a citizen and the crown and/or private or public organization? Does Legal Aid Ontario's financial support at all violate the charter of Human Rights in Ontario (or federally) by providing services to only one of the litigants? (“Does Legal Aid give you wings?”)

(f) Should Legal Aid Ontario be accountable for funding frivolous and vexatious litigation in Family Law?

(g) Should Legal Aid Ontario be allowed to conduct “Settlement Conferences”, mediate any matter, etc...? Does Rule 89 of their own governing Act make them a biased party if conducting a “Settlement Conference” as the person conducting the “Settlement Conference” is an employee of Legal Aid Ontairo and governed by Rule 89?

(h) What is your experience as a litigant either as a person who has a certificate holder or a litigant who faced with opposing counsel financed by Legal Aid Ontario?

I kindly ask that prior to responding you read the above linked case law and the Legal Aid Ontario Act provided.

Thank-you!
Tayken
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:38 PM
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I must comment on this, right now too busy working on reply to reply on a coming up motion but this is indeed a very important subject matter.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sahibjee View Post
I must comment on this, right now too busy working on reply to reply on a coming up motion but this is indeed a very important subject matter.
Sahibjee, judging from your other threads it appears that you are the party in the matter who does not have a Legal Aid Ontario Certificate. Is that correct?
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayken View Post
Sahibjee, judging from your other threads it appears that you are the party in the matter who does not have a Legal Aid Ontario Certificate. Is that correct?
Indeed, as a person with a white collar job, i was denied legal aid due to my earnings despite clearly demonstrating that i ran out of funds and was about $2000 short per month!
my expenses fell only in the following categories and nothing else
1- child support
2- spousal support
3- criminal defense
4- rent.
5- groceries
6- transportation (car/ttc)
7- haircut ($10/m)
8- health insurance

so no non-sence drinking/gambling/ or even mortgage etc, every thing reasonable and still denied!
at the other hand legal aid did give wings to the other party!
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:32 AM
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Default This is mindblowing

The answer is NO . I am a woman who was married to ex-military officer and I have to say it is the opposite. I had to fight for every little thing that I wanted for my two children . My husband declared war on me when I said I was leaving him after a 13 year marriage. I was a stay at home mother of two. I could not find one lawyer in the entire city that wanted to protect my rights. My ex played the my wife is a nut case card and it worked. Not one of them listened to me after that. It has been a nightmare since. I am on the verge of homelessness now and my two children have since left the nest. They have been brainwashed to think that I am a worthless human being. The law certainly did not protect my rights from the start.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:00 AM
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(a) Should Legal Aid Ontario, as requested by the Ontario Ombudsman, be required to remove Rule 89 to insure that the public moneys given to them to conduct their business be properly assessed, as with other government agencies? No

(b) Should Legal Aid Ontario be permitted to provide mental health literature, instruction and information regarding intimate partner abuse at all? Yes Is it within their mandate of operations to do so? I believe so--many people who ARE abused, don't realize the extent of their abuse, or believe they "deserve it", when they don't.

(c) Should Legal Aid Ontario be required to provide mental health information (or have integrated with existing information) regarding false allegations of intimate partner abuse and child abuse and the repercussions of such allegations? Legal Aid can only work with what the client tells them, same as for any lawyer. If the client lies, they have no real way of knowing.

(d) Should Legal Aid Ontario be required as clearly stated in Rule 13 of the Family Law Rules to require “full and frank” financial disclosure of Applicants and be permitted the ability on application by any potential client to retrieve a full credit history, all account information, tax records and other information required under Rule 13 of the Family Law Rules? Yes

(e) Should Legal Aid Ontario even be providing financial support in Family Law matters at all which is a dispute between two citizens and not a citizen and the crown and/or private or public organization? Yes Does Legal Aid Ontario's financial support at all violate the charter of Human Rights in Ontario (or federally) by providing services to only one of the litigants? (“Does Legal Aid give you wings?”) NO--leaves the other person with the only option of self-representing if they can't afford a lawyer

(f) Should Legal Aid Ontario be accountable for funding frivolous and vexatious litigation in Family Law? Yes--though defining "frivolous and vexatious litigation" would be difficult to define. Maybe vexatious and frivolous to one party, but not the other.

(g) Should Legal Aid Ontario be allowed to conduct “Settlement Conferences”, mediate any matter, etc...? Yes, as long as other party has "independent legal advice" Does Rule 89 of their own governing Act make them a biased party if conducting a “Settlement Conference” as the person conducting the “Settlement Conference” is an employee of Legal Aid Ontario and governed by Rule 89? No

(h) What is your experience as a litigant either as a person who has a certificate holder or a litigant who faced with opposing counsel financed by Legal Aid Ontario? Have not been in either position, to the best of my knowledge. I don't qualify for Legal Aid, despite having no income and being unemployed 15 years.

Last edited by Epona; 11-29-2012 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:59 PM
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That a lot of questions Tayken and yes, I have read the case law and the Legal Aid Law Act. So I will respond now and give you a bit of history and my personal experience respecting Legal Aid.

I am a Legal Aid client. When I left my ex of 17 years I walked away with zero, ziltch, nothing, nada. The reality was that I was going to be in for a LONG RIDE comprised of child access, child support, and property division.

It was not I who opted to go down the long road called court. I was FORCED into it by a litigious ex who did have the funds to hire a well qualified lawyer. It did not need to go this way. There was absolutely NO attempt by his lawyer to make contact with me respecting a separation agreement, NOTHING: I was merely served on a frosty, cold morning.

It was either self-representation or apply for Legal Aid. It is a common misperception that that Legal Aid clients get a FREE RIDE and we are GIVEN WINGS. In my 'contract' with Legal Aid I was allocated a maximum sum for services and they put a lien on my home in that amount. Certainly the hourly fees are less than a standard lawyer but I DO PAY.

It was he ex who dragged this through court and I have no doubt in my mind that BUT FOR representation I would have lost my children, everything. Today, we have joint custody, with children in my primary care and my ex having liberal, open access (um, that was exactly what we had agreed on initially). But for the ex hiring his NON-FUNDED laywer this never would have happened.

Many issues were not resolved on motion, but one significant one was: the ex was ordered to pay costs, which was significant. Incidentally, the ex opted not to drag this sucker on via the court system, fired his "incompetent laywer" (who apparently GUARANTEED him he would get full custody with me having no access - who does that anyways?) and now, three years later we continue to hash out a separation agreement. Those costs have never been paid (which essentially means Legal Aid has not been paid).

Pazaratz had a point stating legal aid gave wings, but that doesn't happen in every case and I doubt that it is the standard. My lawyer, who was actually the director of the legal aid office did not act 'litigiously' and it would be an unfair statement to cast them all in the same light. But when litigation was started, he acted in mine and my children's best interest; it wasn't about winning a fight, it was about ensuring I have proper legal representation, no more and no less.

I don't want to comment on many of the questions simply because I am nor well enough informed to provide a proper answer. But I DO BELIEVE legal aid should provide financial support in family matters. But for the Legal aid program things would have gone disasterously wrong. As for violating rights? That is a whole other ball game.


I can understand the abject 'distaste' people have with paying for a system respecting family/private matters. Please turn that around for a minute and think how I as an individual was/am beholden to a system that is complex, confusing and downright difficult for the average Joe to work in. And it isn't just family law that one is dealing with. I have a home that has substantial equity that I CANNOT TOUCH until we finally manoveur through the legal soup. The law created the mess, so perhaps it can help people like myself. Otherwise I should be able to sell my damn house whenever I flipping well want and right now, because of the fine thing we call law and due process I can't.

And that my friend, are some of the reasons why legal aid can be a good thing. Please don't paint us "legal aiders" with the same paint brush and think that we are all "partner abused", "feel sorry for me" people. We are not. I am a mother of three children who had to fight the 'litigious one" to keep my kids and thankfully for Legal Aid I was able to and thanks to Legal Aid I am slowly working through the process of asset division.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:18 PM
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From what I have seen, and it is a very narrow view from a small sample of legal aid lawyers that I have watched in the local family court house. The legal aid system is a way for newer lawyers to get clients, and make money and try and make a name for themselves. Maybe the legal aid lawyers need to have the childs best interest in mind, and not just a paycheque. I know they get paid significantly less for legal aid matters, but if they win they can ask for their regular fee in costs (what happened against me with the costs award). Of the few judges we were in front of, none would order costs against my ex even if she clearly lost the motion because it would not be in the childs best interests for someone with very little income to lose any of it. It may be different if the party with legal aid is the non custodial party though.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
I am a Legal Aid client. When I left my ex of 17 years I walked away with zero, ziltch, nothing, nada.
Ok...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
The reality was that I was going to be in for a LONG RIDE comprised of child access, child support, and property division.
Were you amicable to a joint custody arrangement with 50-50 access when you "walked away"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
It was not I who opted to go down the long road called court.
Assuming this means you are the Respondent in the matter before the courts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
I was FORCED into it by a litigious ex who did have the funds to hire a well qualified lawyer. It did not need to go this way.
Did you make any offer to settle on the matter prior to either party bringing an Application before the court?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
There was absolutely NO attempt by his lawyer to make contact with me respecting a separation agreement, NOTHING: I was merely served on a frosty, cold morning.
Both parties are expected to serve offers to settle in accordance with Rule 18 of the Family Law Rules. Did you serve and offer in accordance with the Rules prior to an Application being brought? Even a parenting plan recommendation?

It isn't the other party who has legal representation's sole responsibility to make an offer to settle. It is BOTH parties responsibility to make offers to settle on the matter. There is no Rule that prevents you from making a reasonable offer to settle.

Interesting that you are blaming the other party's lawyer for not creating and serving an offer to settle on the matters when both parties are expected under the Rules (FLR) to do this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
It was either self-representation or apply for Legal Aid.
Or read a book like Tug of War, purchase a $68 package from Staples on separation agreements and serve an offer to settle on some of or all the outstanding matters...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
It is a common misperception that that Legal Aid clients get a FREE RIDE and we are GIVEN WINGS.
Actually, the miss conception isn't that it is a "FREE RIDE" or "GIVEN WINGS". In fact, there is only a handful of cases for which the abuse of Legal Aid funds have been identified.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
In my 'contract' with Legal Aid I was allocated a maximum sum for services and they put a lien on my home in that amount. Certainly the hourly fees are less than a standard lawyer but I DO PAY.
But, do you make offers to settle the matter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
It was he ex who dragged this through court and I have no doubt in my mind that BUT FOR representation I would have lost my children, everything.
Again, that is "in your mind" and the courts do not take children away from two loving and good parents. Your anxiety over the fact that the other parent had legal representation and that they have some ability to "take away" children may be the challenge you face.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
Today, we have joint custody, with children in my primary care and my ex having liberal, open access (um, that was exactly what we had agreed on initially). But for the ex hiring his NON-FUNDED laywer this never would have happened.
I really don't understand what you are trying to state here.

1. You have joint custody.
2. Liberal and open access.
3. What was original offered and agreed upon "initially".
4. But this would have never happened if the other party didn't have legal representation.

Not sure how the other party having legal representation, which they have every right to, is the problem in the matter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
Many issues were not resolved on motion, but one significant one was: the ex was ordered to pay costs, which was significant.
That is the point and purpose of costs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
Incidentally, the ex opted not to drag this sucker on via the court system, fired his "incompetent laywer" (who apparently GUARANTEED him he would get full custody with me having no access - who does that anyways?) and now, three years later we continue to hash out a separation agreement.
How did the lawyer "GUARANTEE" anything? It is against their professional code of conduct. They can provide advice but, it would be a serious breech of conduct to provide a "GUARANTEE".

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
Those costs have never been paid (which essentially means Legal Aid has not been paid).
Has your "Legal Aid Lawyer" sought relief through the courts to insure the cost order is paid? There are many things that can be done. For one, you can request that the other party be prevented from bringing further motions to the court until such time that the contempt of the costs order is addressed.

If your LOA Lawyer is the Regional Director they should be moving the matter forward and they are required to under the Legal Aid Ontario Act to collect moneys that is owed to the "Corporation".

So, your story really doesn't add up in this area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
Pazaratz had a point stating legal aid gave wings, but that doesn't happen in every case and I doubt that it is the standard.
Actually, the Honourable Mr. Justice Pazaratz was only restating what was brought forward by the litigant in the matter. See the above quote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
My lawyer, who was actually the director of the legal aid office did not act 'litigiously' and it would be an unfair statement to cast them all in the same light.
Nope. In fact, it isn't the Lawyer who is the problem. It is their client. Lawyers do what their clients instruct them to do. So, the target of the concern is not "lawyers" but, people who use the system to obtain funds and then instruct their government provided lawyer to litigate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
But when litigation was started, he acted in mine and my children's best interest; it wasn't about winning a fight, it was about ensuring I have proper legal representation, no more and no less.
Hard to determine from your statement at face value. Hopefully this is a truthful statement. Furthermore, you, even under a legal aid ontario certificate employ the lawyer. They follow your instruction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
I don't want to comment on many of the questions simply because I am nor well enough informed to provide a proper answer. But I DO BELIEVE legal aid should provide financial support in family matters. But for the Legal aid program things would have gone disasterously wrong. As for violating rights? That is a whole other ball game.
Thank-you for your opinions they are much appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
I can understand the abject 'distaste' people have with paying for a system respecting family/private matters.
Actually, you identify the root of the problem. The systemic issues inherent in the "system" that is "Family Law".

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
Please turn that around for a minute and think how I as an individual was/am beholden to a system that is complex, confusing and downright difficult for the average Joe to work in.
That is why it would be better in my opinion of the funds spent on LOA would be better spent on creating a Family Law Tribunal system that is more similar to collaborative law than what we have today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
And it isn't just family law that one is dealing with. I have a home that has substantial equity that I CANNOT TOUCH until we finally manoveur through the legal soup. The law created the mess, so perhaps it can help people like myself. Otherwise I should be able to sell my damn house whenever I flipping well want and right now, because of the fine thing we call law and due process I can't.
Actually, you can. You can bring forward a motion for the immediate sale of the matrimonial home. Your lawyer should be advising you of these options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
And that my friend, are some of the reasons why legal aid can be a good thing.
Not debating if they do more harm than good. The questions were posed to better understand the experiences people had and their opinions. The content is being gathered so better solutions could be proposed rather than a litigated one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
Please don't paint us "legal aiders" with the same paint brush and think that we are all "partner abused", "feel sorry for me" people.
I don't. What I am concerned about is that there are people going to Legal Aid Ontario with unsubstantiated allegations of "domestic violence" and "child abuse" to get Certificates. There appears to be a process by which someone alleging "abuse" can jump in front of others in need. If this is the case then it insights people to make these allegations so they can get funding and faster. This leads more cases to the court.

My argument is that LOA should not collect any domestic violence information and it should not be an element to funding a litigant. Their access to the appropriate financial means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2three View Post
We are not. I am a mother of three children who had to fight the 'litigious one" to keep my kids and thankfully for Legal Aid I was able to and thanks to Legal Aid I am slowly working through the process of asset division.
1. Why did you have to fight?
2. Why are they "your kids" and not the other parent's kids too? ("my kids")

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:03 PM
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Taken

Why would you ask for opinions and then ask so many questions about their situation? I thought this was about their opinion? I certainly wouldn't answer this if I knew you were going to play trial lawyer and cross examine everyone about each sentence.

I am a legal aid client and my stbx is the applicant as well. He also has not made any offers to settle. He went straight to an application and then scheduled his case conference within 4 weeks. Will he offer something at the last second? Possibly but my lawyer has not suggested we offer any sort of settlement either, even when I asked the lawyer about it. You can spout Rules all you want, but that isn't what my lawyer did. I would think he knows the law.

I think you have a very vested interested in this topic for whatever reason. Perhaps your time would be better spent on something else.

A woman who is truly abused is the only victim of a crime that must defend herself in a court of law and must protect herself, her money, her assets and her children.

Are there people out there who use the system? Possibly. Should those liars affect the ability of the others to get help? No. The greater good should prevail.

And of course Legal Aid should be able to give out abuse information. I am not and was not in an abusive situation. Providing me with that information does not change my case whatsoever.
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