One to Watch – An Update on Bill 161

In February of this year, we wrote a post about the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act (Bill 161) which was introduced late in 2019. As previously stated, this act will make changes to over 20 acts impacting the courts, legal aid, legal practice and regulation. On July 8th, the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act received Royal Assent. 

In February of this year, we wrote a post about the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act (Bill 161) which was introduced late in 2019. As previously stated, this act will make changes to over 20 acts impacting the courts, legal aid, legal practice and regulation. On July 8th, the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act received Royal Assent. 

Continue reading “One to Watch – An Update on Bill 161”

One to Watch – Ontario Bill 161, Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019

The Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019 (Bill 161) was introduced late last year by Attorney General Doug Downey. The stated aim of this ambitious 80-page package of reforms is to simplify Ontario’s complex and outdated justice system. If passed, the bill will make changes, large and small, to over 20 acts impacting the courts, legal aid, legal practice and regulation.

Here are a few key Bill 161 amendments:

Class Proceedings Act (Schedule 4)

  • introduces a more rigorous certification test, new provisions for approval of third-party funding, coordination of multi-jurisdictional actions, administrative dismissal of  dormant proceedings, and procedural changes relating to appeals, carriage motions and settlement and counsel fee approvals

Commissioners for the Taking of Affidavits Act (Schedule 5)

  • allows for virtual (remote) commissioning of documents

Estates Act (Schedule 9)

  • introduces a simplified probate process for small estates

Law Society Act (Schedule 14)

  • grants the Law Society of Ontario the authority to regulate firms, in addition to regulating lawyers and paralegals individually

Notaries Act (Schedule 19)

  • allows paralegals to be appointed as notaries

A complete summary of amendments can be found in the Explanatory Note to Bill 161.

Legal organizations, academics and practitioners have already responded to various aspects of the bill. See for example:

Since Bill 161 received first reading on December 9, 2019, just days before the Legislature adjourned for its winter break, it has thus far not been debated in the House or Committee. But MPPs return to work today, so stay tuned. 

Legal Research Survival Guide, Part 4 – Following the Breadcrumbs: Source Notes and How to Use Them

With their jumble of letters, numbers and symbols, legal citations can give researchers quite the headache. While you may have already figured out how to navigate case citations, legislative citations are quite different and can seem even more confusing. One place you may come across legislative citations is in the source notes (or historical notes) found at the end of sections of consolidated law online or in printed statute and regulation revisions. This blog post will help you to decipher and interpret source notes found in statute consolidations.

Continue reading “Legal Research Survival Guide, Part 4 – Following the Breadcrumbs: Source Notes and How to Use Them”