Less than helpful: Legal Aid and Family lawyers

Less than helpful: Legal Aid and Family lawyers
Posted on January 5, 2017 | Derek James | Written on January 5, 2017
Letter type:
Blog Post
Just by failing to file the required paperwork by the deadline before a first appearance in family court on a child protection matter will potentially earn a legal aid lawyer a minimum of $40 000 according to legal aid Ontario. It's almost like the government pays them to stand aside and do nothing.
In my own experience with a legal aid lawyer he failed to file our responding materials though my wife had provided him the material two weeks before the first appearance and throughout our involvement continue to act like he'd never seen our responding materials before, each time, of the many times we asked him to bring up our responding material in court.
Sitting in the courtroom with responding materials in hand the judge granted my wife and I an "extension" to file the required paperwork but no longer trusting the legal aid lawyer we took matters into our own hands and we swore, filed and served our responding material ourselves - a week late they consisted of two sworn affidavits supported by a mountain school and medical documentation. Here's an audio recording of my wife's legal aid lawyer's response to that action.
"Sometimes a Little Revolution is a Good Thing…
So what happened now that our responding material had been filed and served at following appearance? Nothing. The judge failed to notice the material we filed and failed to ask anything more about it. The CAS lawyer failed to acknowledge or mention they had been served, my lawyer failed to appear and my wife's lawyer who did all the talking said nothing at all and for five months my wife's lawyer never once in any way shape or form brought up our responding materials in the courtroom.
The judge ordered my wife to co-operate with the society and as we had before, we allowed the society's workers into our home again and again to see and speak with our children, but we refused to sign consent forms. The family court judge can compel us to co-operate with the society but no person or judge can compel us to sign anything for any reason.
Why did we refuse to sign?
The society wouldn't ask us to agree or attempt to use tricky and coercion to be investigated if the society had any factual evidence or reasonable grounds to begin with but if we signed those consent forms the society doesn't need factual evidence or reasonable grounds to begin what they call an investigation. Think of consent forms as backdoor to the normal process.
So after 5 months in court constantly being harassed to sign consent forms by this worker and that and refusing, the society withdrew their request for a supervision order and the agency sent letter that sort of apologized while putting most of the blame on my wife and I and we started the never ending complain process. That was one year ago.
See: FULL interview with Director of Service for FCSLLG. (notice how surprised Kim looks when she realizes we just didn't serve the CAS our responding materials - but had legitimately filed them with the court.)
Meet the Director of Service for FCSLLG.
We got to the point in the complaint process where the agency required us to sign an agreement not to document the process, we refused and the process ended.

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