Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project

Ontario’s 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 letting 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. Members of the public can search this Lawyer Directory by location, type of service sought and languages in which services are offered to find family lawyers in their area who may be able to assist. You can access the Lawyer Directory here. The project website also provides information and resources about limited scope legal services, tools for clients to help them make the most of the unbundled services that they obtain, and precedents to support lawyers who want to do this work.

Province-wide recruitment and training of family lawyers to join the roster is ongoing. Requirements include experience in family law practice and the completion of training and continuing education. More information about the requirements to join the roster can be found here.

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 University, 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; and experts in non-traditional legal services delivery (i.e., 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 phone at: 1-800-265-4406, Ext. 4431 or 519-433-3491, Ext. 4431.