Earlier this week, the Law Society of Ontario set up an emergency family law referral line with support from the OBA, the courts and various family bar groups.
The call centre will be staffed by LSO staff who will refer inquiries to volunteer lawyers who will agree to give half hour of free legal advice to litigants re: their urgent family law matters, as well as referrals to others who can help depending on the issue (regular family law, DV or child protection). Lawyers will also be welcome to enter into private arrangements with the client after they have given the agreed upon pro bono assistance.
Directions are available for all volunteer lawyers so they have contact information handy for possible referrals including LAO, the Family Law Limited Scope Services roster and the LSO’s regular referral service. Referrals can also be made to the Family Court Support Workers or other resources for domestic violence situations, as well Ministry funded family mediation and information services.
The OBA has done a call to action and Toronto’s Advice and Settlement Counsel project have already given a significant number of volunteers. But the organizers would like to supplement the roster to make sure that the current list of volunteers doesn’t get overwhelmed.