Despite some contentious items among its recommendations, Convocation approved unanimously the Treasurer’s Advisory Group (TAG) Working Group report, at February Convocation. The TAG report encompasses wide-ranging views, collected from various sources over several years. Underscoring the recommendations is the urgent need to increase the ability of Canadians to use the legal system, despite financial and other barriers.
Treasurer Conway emphasized that the TAG report is just a first step in the process. Specifics will be fleshed-out and a framework developed over the coming months. The Law Society has the go-ahead to ensure that access to justice objectives imbue every business and governance aspect of its activities. Paralegal regulation and scope of practice are part of the process. Conway noted that rules and regulations themselves create barriers to access to justice.”
Not Just Lip Service
The TAG Working Group recommends that LSUC provide administrative and other “infrastructure” support, to encourage successful collaboration. It notes that collaborative efforts often fail for lack of supporting infrastructure. Restructuring LSUC committees is among the contentious recommendations. That element had been discussed for more than a month, since the TAG report was released.
- Appointing members of the Access, Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee to serve as vice chairs of: Professional Development and Competence, Professional Regulation, and Paralegal Standing Committees
- Merging the Access to Justice Committee with the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee, creating an Access, Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee.
- Reconstituting the Treasurer’s Advisory Group on Access to Justice as a standing forum — called the Treasurer’s Action Group on Access to Justice
According to the report, the legal professions must “redefine professionalism and regain a focus on serving the public.”
TAG’s report to February Convocation states that the time has come for the Law Society to adopt “a more strategic and holistic approach to access to justice issues” and that the proposals offer “a path to proceed forward in a focused and supported way” to fulfill the LSUC mandate.
More About LSUC and Access to Justice:
SCOPE Article on the TAG Report
TAG Working Group Report
Treasurer’s Blog, Feb. 4, 2014
Treasurer’s Blog, Dec. 12, 2013