Beginning today, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is piloting special duty counsel authorizations in Family Law Information Centres to provide mediation clients with independent legal advice (ILA). Clients should contact the Client Service Centre at 1-800-668-8258 to determine eligibility for ILA services.

The pilot will be available in this district and 13 other locations. LAO will cover the cost of a duty counsel panel lawyer for up to six hours (in accordance to duty counsel rates) for all ILA services before, during and after mediation to help reach a sustainable agreement and transform it into a legally-binding document.

Duty counsel panel lawyers retained by eligible ILA clients must notify LAO by completing the authorization form found on the LAO website (under the Forms Library under the “Information for Lawyers” tab) and faxing the district offices of the participating pilot location. Lawyers need to provide a copy of the mediation agreement and a final order where appropriate to be paid the full six hours.

For more information, please visit LAO’s website.