Prepared by Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre for the Feminist Law and Policy Reform Coalition, endorsed by over 30 Ontario organizations, this is a response to the FLSP Call for Comment.
We support the three guiding principles informing the development of the Law Society of Ontario‘s consultation paper: access to justice, public protection and viability. However, while we do not oppose the licensing of Family Legal Service Providers (FLSPs) and see a role for them within the family law system, we are not convinced this will fully address these principles.
Access to justice, in particular, is a complex problem; one that will not be solved – and, in fact, might be exacerbated – by the licensing of FLSPs as presently proposed by the LSO.
As Julie Mathews and David Wiseman write in Community Justice Help: Advancing Community- Based Access to Justice:
Access to justice exists when people can pursue their goals and address their law-related problems in ways that are consistent with fair legal standards and processes; and can obtain, understand, and act on information and services related to the law, where necessary, to achieve just outcomes.
This will take more than licensing of paralegals.