Back to Navigation
Home About LSO Initiatives Family Law Action Plan
Print Version

Family Law Action Plan

The Law Society is implementing the Family Law Action Plan to improve access to justice for Ontario families. The plan includes the following action items. Click on each point for more information. 

  • Develop a licensing framework for paralegals and others to provide certain family law services

    Licensing framework

    The Law Society is developing a licence to permit paralegals and others to assist the public with certain family legal services, including areas such as process navigation, completion of some forms, and possibly other areas outside the courtroom context.

    As this licence is being developed, the Law Society will assess what additional legal services, including advocacy, would be in the public interest for paralegals and others to offer, and will consider how best to move ahead with an expanded licence.

    Collaborative development process

    The development process for the new licence will be based on the same model used to develop and maintain our current lawyer and paralegal licensing systems. Involvement of legal professionals, including the family law bar and paralegals is essential. Psychometricians will be assisting with the process to ensure the requirements are rigorous and defensible.

    The Law Society is currently consulting with a diverse cross-section of family law practitioners, paralegals and other stakeholders. These discussions will assist in defining the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will form the basis of the required education and testing components for the licence.

    Timeframe

    We anticipate that the development of the first licence will take approximately 24 months and that the licensing process will be open to qualified applicants in early 2020.

  • Support and promote the expanded use of unbundled legal services and legal coaching

    Unbundling of legal services and legal coaching are innovative ways to assist people who may not be able to hire a lawyer or paralegal to help with their entire legal matter.

    Under a limited scope retainer, also known as unbundled legal services, a person hires a lawyer or paralegal to assist with part, but not all of their legal matter. For example, an individual could hire a lawyer to help complete a court form and then represent themselves in court.  

    Legal coaching is a form of unbundled legal service. An individual navigates their legal issue, with the lawyer or paralegal providing a range of supporting services. These may include assistance in navigating the legal system or providing legal information as well as substantive legal advice.

    Promoting expanded use of unbundling
    The Law Society supports the expanded use of unbundling, including legal coaching, by offering referral services, continuing professional development and other resources. More information on these resources will be posted here in the coming weeks.

  • Consider experiential training for lawyer candidates in the licensing process
    The Law Society is committed to exploring how lawyer licensing candidates may provide supports for the delivery of family law services under appropriate supervision.  This initiative is being considered as part of the Dialogue on Licensing, the Law Society’s current review of the lawyer licensing process.
  • Review the conduct rules to help clarify the legal information that may be provided to unrepresented litigants by court staff
  • Background

    Convocation (the Law Society’s board of directors) approved the Family Law Action Plan, in principle, at its December 2017 meeting.

    The action plan was developed in response to the 21 recommendations outlined in the Family Legal Services Review and in consideration of the over 160 submissions received from individuals and organizations