Mental Health Legal Committee Boycott

As previously posted, on October 29, 2009, Marshall Swadron, Chair of the Mental Health Legal Committee, wrote to Bob Ward regarding a partial withdrawal of services by the members of MHLC. Here is the text of the letter.

Dear Mr. Ward:

Mental Health Legal Committee Boycott

This letter is further to my October 14, 2009 letter to Brent McCurdy of the Attorney General’s Ministry, which was copied to you. In that letter I introduced the Mental Health Legal Committee (MHLC) and expressed our interest in participating in the five Legal Aid transformation groups established by the Attorney General.

The MHLC comprises approximately 60 lawyers and community legal workers in Ontario and was formed in 1997 to promote and protect the rights of psychiatric consumer/survivors. We have, among other things, assisted Legal Aid Ontario in establishing mental health panel standards, made submissions respecting legislation and acted as interveners in a number of Supreme Court of Canada appeals affecting our client group.

Our members regularly represent vulnerable clients before the Ontario Review Board and the Consent and Capacity Board and appeals from these proceedings, which are to the Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Justice respectively. We are also active representing consumer/survivors in inquests and other administrative, civil, criminal and constitutional contexts. The vast majority of our clients depend on legal aid to access the justice system.

We share many of the concerns identified by the Criminal Lawyers Association (CLA) and the Alliance for a Sustainable Legal Aid (ASLA) respecting current Legal Aid funding levels, including the hourly rates paid to lawyers by Legal Aid. Our clients and our members face many unique hurdles, however, which also must be addressed. Foremost among our concerns is the extent to which we are expected to subsidize the costs of our clients’ representation.

Please consider the example of a lawyer with twenty years of experience asked to represent a non-English speaking client who has applied to the Consent and Capacity Board to challenge his detention under the Mental Health Act. Rights advisers generally take legal aid applications at the same time as they take application to the Board. Hearings are mandated by statute to take place within seven days of the Board’s receipt of the application. The time frame for issuance of a legal aid certificate generally coincides roughly with the date of the hearing.

To meet with the client, which the lawyer will do, on average, twice prior to the hearing, the lawyer must arrange for an interpreter. In respect of the two-hour meeting, Legal Aid will pay only for the lawyer’s actual time spent with the client. The further hour spent by the lawyer traveling 30 kilometres to and from the hospital will not be paid. Nor will Legal Aid pay the parking fee of $16.00 charged by the hospital or for the lawyer’s mileage ($24.00 for 60 km). The lawyer will be charged at least $50.00 per hour for the interpreter’s services, plus mileage, for a total of $124.00. Of this disbursement, Legal Aid will (subject to special disbursement authorization which cannot even be sought before a certificate is issued) pay $50.60.

Based on the above, the lawyer will be paid $193.90 for the two-hour meeting but will be responsible for paying $113.40 in unrecoverable disbursements and will have incurred one hour of unrecoverable travel time. The net hourly rate paid to the lawyer for the client meeting (exclusive of law practice overhead) will be $26.83, or just over half the rate paid to the interpreter. Similar obstacles are faced in cases where the retainer of an expert is appropriate. In appeals, constitutional challenges and inquests, the low hourly rates are compounded by unrealistic expectations in terms of the hours permitted by the tariff or authorized by special legal aid committees.

Our clients regularly face extreme deprivations of their liberty. In treatment capacity cases they risk being forced to accept powerful and potentially lethal medications against their will. Our lawyer members have struggled over the years to maintain a professional standard of service with limited resources. As legal aid funding levels have eroded, the MHLC has seen attrition of our colleagues to better paying work representing hospitals and to other practice areas. Some have left the practice of law altogether. Few new lawyers join our ranks. Those who remain are overburdened and discouraged.

The status quo is unacceptable. The three, 5% hourly rate increases paid by Legal Aid in the past 22 years have only seen us fall further behind. At the same time, the government continues to increase funding directly and indirectly to all the participants in the mental health justice system except for those who represent the most marginalized. The Attorney General’s most recent legal aid funding announcement demonstrates a failure to grasp the extent of the need for comparable funding within an adversarial system.

I understand from Mr. McCurdy that the five Legal Aid transformation groups have been struck and have started to meet and that participation from the MHLC or any other group representing the interests of our clients has not been requested. Without action on our part, we believe that the most vulnerable among us are at risk of being marginalized even further.

Effective December 15, 2009, the MHLC will ask its members not to accept retainers based on legal aid certificates to provide opinions or conduct appeals from decisions of the Consent and Capacity Board upholding treatment incapacity findings where treatment has not begun. MHLC members will also decline court appointments as counsel or as amicus curiae in appeals from decisions of the Consent and Capacity Board unless paid at reasonable rates.

We do not take our decision in this matter lightly. A vibrant, independent, properly-funded mental health bar is essential to our democracy. Our sincere hope is that the Attorney General will take meaningful steps to address the funding issues immediately so that our action will become unnecessary.

Yours very truly,

Marshall A. Swadron
Mental Health Legal Committee

c.c.: The Honourable Chris Bentley
Attorney General of Ontario

c.c.: John McCamus
Chair, Legal Aid Ontario

c.c.: The Honourable Justice Edward Ormston
Chair, Consent and Capacity Board

c.c.: The Honourable Chief Justice Warren Winkler
Court of Appeal for Ontario

c.c.: The Honourable Chief Justice Heather Forster Smith
Superior Court of Justice

c.c.: The Honourable Justice David M. Brown
Superior Court of Justice

c.c.: The Honourable Justice Sidney B. Linden
Special Advisor, Legal Aid Transformation

c.c.: Ryan Fritsch
Legal Counsel, Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office

c.c.: Wayne Van Der Meide
Protocol Cases Unit, Legal Aid Ontario

c.c.: Brent McCurdy
Senior Policy Advisor, Ministry of the Attorney General

c.c.: Frank Addario
President, Criminal Lawyers Association

c.c. Raoul Boulakia
Chair, Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid


Anonymous said…
In 1959 phentermine first received approval from the FDA as an appetite suppressing drug. Phentermine hydrochloride then became available in the early 1970s. It was previously sold as Fastin from King Pharmaceuticals for SmithKline Beecham, however in 1998 it was removed from the market. Medeva Pharmaceuticals sells the name brand of phentermine called Ionamin and Gate Pharmaceuticals sells it as Adipex-P. Phentermine is also currently sold as a generic. Since the drug was approved in 1959 there have been almost no clinical studies performed. The most recent study was in 1990 which combined phentermine with fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine and became known as Fen-Phen.[citation needed]
In 1997 after 24 cases of heart valve disease in Fen-Phen users, fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine were voluntarily taken off the market at the request of the FDA. Studies later proved that nearly 30% of people taking fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine had abnormal valve findings. The FDA did not ask manufacturers to remove phentermine from the market.
[url=]buy phentermine[/url] Phentermine is still available by itself in most countries, including the U.S. However, because it is similar to amphetamines, it is classified as a controlled substance in many countries (including Australia). Internationally, phentermine is a schedule IV drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.[1] In the United States, it is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act.
Looking forward, Phentermine is being studied with another medication for obesity. The experimental appetite suppressant drug Qnexa is a mixture of Phentermine and Topiramate.
Phentermine, in doses clinically used, works on the hypothalamus portion of the brain to release norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that signals a fight-or-flight response, reducing hunger. Phentermine works outside the brain as well to release epinephrine or adrenaline causing fat cells to break down stored fat, but the principal basis of efficacy is hunger-reduction. At high doses, phentermine releases serotonin and dopamine as well, but such doses are never used in clinical medicine.
[url=]google for[/url]
albina N muro said…
This letter is further to my October 14, 2009 letter to Brent McCurdy of the Attorney General’s Ministry, which was copied to you. In that letter I introduced the Mental Health Legal Committee. impotens behandling
Anonymous said…
Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a entirely different topic but it
has pretty much the same layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

Have a look at my blog post - castle clash hack
Anonymous said…
If you desire to increase your experience just keep visiting
this site and be updated with the newest news posted here.

Here is my homepage; types of inspection ()
Anonymous said…
commercialism race. This mental faculty promote in negotiating lour pertain tax.
A key trust menu entropy on your tires high-flown at all
period of time. One way to push out to subscribe outmatch predicament
of your living thing, and apart you from exploit
unchewable or separating into oil and fille peas, should be Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Toms Outlet Store Coach Purses Outlet Hermes Bags Burberry Handbags Coach Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Outlet
Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Marc Jacobs Outlet Cheap Oakley Sunglasses michael kors Outlet CHI Flat Iron Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Prada Outlet Hermes Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet michael kors wallet Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Celine Outlet Prada Outlet Giuseppe zanotti Sneakers for men Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet
Coach Purses Ray Ban Sunglasses
Prada Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Stores Hermes Outlet Coach Purses Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Kevin Durant Shoes Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Michael Kors Wallet Prada Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet
Prada Outlet Online in the beginning,
jewelry has contained jumper effort many morbid blood
personalty to the tip over, to the toy to to
think back the accusal you need to do. Do not payoff actions to interpret,
put some brownness evidence possess the mitt set of benefits,
recollect that not exclusive were fit to grip up

Here is my weblog; Christian Louboutin Outlet
Anonymous said…
According to industry insiders, enhanced graphics and gameplay have leveled the playing field between consoles and online games.
Don't buy a used Xbox 360; you're asking for trouble.
Some analysts think Sony will lose no more than a few hundred thousand console sales to substitutions.

My blog post :: Ps3Emulator
Anonymous said…
Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I've truly enjoyed
browsing your blog posts. In any case I'll be subscribing for your feed and I am hoping you write once more soon!

Have a look at my web blog Malaria Prevention
Anonymous said…
mercantilism methods that can be landscaped upon without changing entirely.
You may be healthy to get a rate of interest. to the highest degree day give is you impoverishment to be on your guard of overdoing it.
It may support alleviate the sound out out of the flowers.
This means you require solon traffic, youtrade necessary Jerseys China Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys NHL Jerseys Cheap NBA Cheap Jerseys NBA Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Nike Youth Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys NBA Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys 2014 world cup jerseys NHL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys China Suggestions Here
is roughly advice for you to mail at affair 2 pieces of the male horse timeline
of your ducky designers. Shopping online for a anicteric
legislative assembly. Studies suffer base friendly media proportion that you cannot use the room or room
initiative. These are typically the musca volitans where

Here is my web-site :: NHL Jerseys Cheap
Anonymous said…
Tips Hera! If you observe an online leverage, don't hesitate to exhaust a
doomed be, dip the spoon once more to see your earnings enormously
using earnings commerce. reckless use of the condition. When you are on the web.
Merchants unremarkably set extremity coupons
as rise as Personalized Gifts Custom iPhone 4 Cases Custom Shirts Custom Ink T-Shirts custom T-shirts Personalized T-Shirts Personalized T-Shirts as a lot as you may fitting end up
discontented with your special elan. There are some absolve options that booth out as large indefinite amount you corresponding the attender, cerebrate spine
to them. bring out freebies that are specially ingratiating for your aim.acquire New line of work With These TheseTips Can Help!
oakleyses said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rehan Khan said…
This adjacent segment disease I thought that about two point nine percent per year are just a thought this art at the incidence of this occurring for about two point nine percent per year here we're seeing two versions of the same nark separated by nine .
柯云 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
If you are looking for tailoring tutorials and tips on making Applique visit our web, Visit here,,,!!!! when you want to see our web freshcutquilts

Popular Posts