Freeze Law Society of Ontario & LAWPRO Fees due to COVID-19

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On March 16, 2020, the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice announced sweeping closures as a precautionary measure to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Courts will remain open for certain limited functions for now, but the vast majority of matters will be adjourned for at least ten weeks. Tribunals Ontario has made a similar announcement, with more details to come.

These measures will obviously have a significant impact on sole practitioners and small/medium firms. Lawyers and paralegals who work in the courts and tribunals are likely to experience a sharp decline in cash flow, while still having to cover overhead such as rent, staffing expenses, and student loan payments. Practitioners who serve low-income clients will be among the hardest hit. This has broad implications for access to justice in Ontario. 

We are calling on the Law Society of Ontario and LAWPRO to consider suspending any obligation to pay fees as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. We implore the regulator to show some compassion and extend a helping hand during these turbulent and uncertain times.