To: That majority of the population that cannot afford a lawyer's services that are beyond merely very simple, routine legal services.
Access to Justice
Madam Attorney General:
Investigate the problem of "unaffordable legal services." It has been a growing major problem of Canadian society for decades--ever since I became a lawyer on Friday, March 25, 1966:
A small amount of investigative journalism would produce a very important report on why law societies have made no attempt to solve the unaffordable legal services problem, i.e., the majority of society cannot affordable legal services other than very simple, routine legal services. Hundreds of thousands of people, among that majority, have had their lives seriously damaged because they cannot afford a lawyer.
For example, without a lawyer, consider having to fight for the custody of, or reasonable access to your child, or to save a family business that is the economic foundation of you and your family, or having to go to court yourself to try to get compensation for being dismissed (fired) without cause, and without notice from your employer, and then losing your house because you can't pay the mortgage.
Our law societies have not evolved in their management structure since their creation in the early 19th century. (The Law Society of Ontario was created on July 17, 1797, in Niagara-on-the-Lake.) Therefore, their thinking as to what a law society should do has not changed. Therefore, the method by which lawyers do their work to produce legal services is very, very obsolete. It is a cottage-industry method. As a result, the cause of the problem is that there are no economies-of-scale in the practice of law.
To achieve the economies-of-scale that affordability makes necessary, all other manufacturers of goods and services have moved to support-services methods of production. The exception is monopolies, which is what law societies have--monopolistic control over the production of legal services. And so there has been no change in the method of doing the work to produce legal services because its law societies are under no pressure to sponsor the innovations that would enable affordable legal services to be produced by law firms. No pressure; no innovation. As a result, now this situation and the thinking that supports it are deeply entrenched in law society institutional culture, such that:-
- our law societies are managed by part-time amateurs--they are lawyers whose chief concern is where they earn their own living--their law offices--and they are amateurs because the major problems of law societies are not legal problems; lawyers do not have the necessary expertise to deal with them; a management structure from the early 19th century cannot deal with 21st century problems of management;
- and so our law societies are like an elected government without a civil service; such a government cannot govern, and so neither can law societies cope with this problem;
- but because there is no pressure on them, no law society has a program the purpose of which is to learn the cause and solve the problem;
- and none has issued a public declaration that states, "this problem is our problem, and it is our duty in law to solve this problem"--see the duties stated in section 4.2 of Ontario's Law Society Act;
- and, Canada's law societies don't do the obvious, which is to form a committee together, hire the necessary experts, and formulate a strategy for solving the problem, which problem is the worst "access to justice" problem in Canada's history; but our law societies do nothing to try to solve it while its victims continue to grow larger;
- our law societies are like a worn out aristocracy that has long outlived its worth, but lives off the best of the land (the justice system), and satisfies its conscience as to its duty to the public by providing nothing more than charity--simplistic, free legal services that cannot provide a solution to any serious legal problem--only very simple legal problems, and also "apps," but analysis shows that the application of e-technology to obsolescent methods of production cannot bring affordability- embellishing a bicycle doesn't create the motor vehicle that is the necessary solution;
- but law society managers (lawyers) expect that majority of the population that cannot afford legal services (being middle &lower income people) to continue to pay for the justice system, whereat all lawyers directly or indirectly earn their living, but our law societies make no attempt to provide that majority with an affordable lawyer. And lawyers' incomes are significantly greater than that of the majority who cannot afford legal services beyond very routine legal services; that majority is also the majority of taxpayers and the majority of voters;
- because of the great misery caused by the problem, law societies cause more damage to society than does any other group;
- think of a law society as a utility company, providing an essential service or product to millions of customers, but is managed by part-time amateurs who have no knowledge of the utility's necessary expertise &
Why is this important?
We are a society based upon "the rule of law." But the volume and complexity of laws makes necessary the services of a lawyer to be able to enforce that rule of law. So, we cannot truthfully say that we are a constitutional democracy when we cannot enforce the rights, freedoms, and declaration of the rule of law in our constitution, i.e., declared in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.