Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project

The Ontario Family Law Limited Scope Services Project’s goal is to improve access to family justice for middle income Ontarians by helping lawyers provide more limited legal services to more clients, and helping people, who may not otherwise be able to hire a lawyer, know that other options are available.

The Project facilitates access to and the use of unbundled family law services through this website that hosts a province-wide roster of trained lawyers willing and able to provide such services.  Clients are now able to search this Lawyer Directory by location and type of service sought to find family lawyers in their area who may be able to assist.  The project website also provides information and resources about limited scope legal services, precedents to support lawyers who want to do this work, and tools for clients to help them make the most of the unbundled services that they obtain.  You can access the Lawyer Directory here.

Province-wide recruitment and training of family lawyers to join the roster has already begun and will continue into 2019.  Requirements include experience in family law practice and the completion of training and on-going education.  More information about requirements to join the roster.

Project funding has been made available by the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Access to Justice Fund.

The Project is supported by a research and evaluation component that will study the perceptions of judges, lawyers and other justice system professionals, as well as clients, regarding the value of this type of service and how it can be improved.  The Principal Investigator is Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, Professor of Social Work at King’s University College, Western, and the Legal Co-Investigator for the research is Prof. Nicholas Bala of the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University.

The Project is an unprecedented, private-bar driven effort, with strong support from each family bar organization in Ontario as well as the courts.  It is supported by a broad Advisory Committee, with representation from the Ontario Bar Association Family Law Section; the Federation of Ontario Law Associations; the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – Ontario Chapter; The Advocates’ Society; the Family Lawyers Association, the Federation of Law Associations; experts in non-traditional legal services delivery (Nikki Gershbain of Pro Bono Students Canada and Lisa Eisen of Family Law A la Carte); and researchers.  The Project team also works with Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Society, LawPro, and Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).

Information about the Project Steering Committee.

For more information on “What are Limited Scope Services?”.

Have you worked with a lawyer who provided you with unbundled legal services in a family law matter?

Dr. Rachel Birnbaum at King’s University College, Western University is interested in hearing from clients who have used unbundled services.  Any telephone interviews will be kept strictly confidential and any information reported will be anonymous.

Dr. Birnbaum can be contacted by email at: rbirnbau@uwo.ca or by text and phone at 416-428-0884