September 26, 2023

The upcoming 2023 Legislation Society of Ontario Bencher election will herald many adjustments.  The obvious one is that – for the primary time in 4 years – there shall be a brand new roster of particular person Benchers who will take their seats at Convocation, and assist govern the Legislation Society of Ontario (LSO) itself.  

However there shall be a less-obvious change as nicely.  With the infusion of “new blood”, there may even be a brand new set of collective insights, views, and priorities that the duly-elected new Benchers convey to the desk.

The Election’s Influence on Legislation Associations and Legislation Libraries 

This may have a big influence on the exact manner the LSO strikes ahead in myriad respects.  Two of these affected areas are: 1) the Legislation Associations, and a couple of) the Legislation Libraries. The election final result can affect their future in a number of methods: 

  • Funding:  Since Benchers have the authority to approve and allocate LSO funding, additionally they resolve which authorized organizations obtain it, and in what quantities.  This consists of the Legislation Associations and Legislation Libraries. Relying on the Benchers who’re elected, the priorities will differ:   Some may prioritize funding in ways in which improve monetary help; others may prioritize in a manner that decreases it. 
  • Regulation: Benchers play a broad position in regulating the authorized occupation, together with Legislation Associations and their particular person members. The election of Benchers who prioritize stricter rules or enforcement of current rules may affect this space as nicely.
  • Entry to data:  Legislation Libraries usually are not nearly dusty books.  Even with the widespread use of on-line data, they’re nonetheless related;  In truth, they play a pivotal position in offering entry to authorized data to the authorized occupation and the general public.  As a result of Benchers have the authority to approve their funding, they not directly form the insurance policies that govern data entry. 
  • Advocacy:   As talked about, the LSO helps Legislation Associations – which in flip help their members by advocacy.  Benchers who prioritize the pursuits of Legislation associations and their members may end in elevated help for his or her advocacy efforts.

What Can Go Mistaken?

So we’ve established that the LSO Bencher election can have a big influence on Legislation Associations and Legislation Libraries. However what’s the worst-case situation? 

Properly, that is determined by the insurance policies and priorities of the elected Benchers in fact.  However a few of the doomsday eventualities embrace: 

  • Diminished funding: Everyone seems to be scrambling for a bit of the restricted funding “pie”.  If the elected Benchers prioritize funding for different areas of the authorized business (equivalent to regulation or enforcement), there could possibly be a lower in funding for Legislation Associations and Legislation Libraries. This might end in a discount in providers, assets, and programming accessible to legal professionals/paralegals and the general public.
  • Stricter rules: If the elected Benchers prioritize stricter rules or enforcement of current rules, this might have a unfavourable influence on the actions of Legislation Associations and their members. For instance, sure advocacy or lobbying efforts could possibly be restricted or prohibited.
  • Diminished entry to data: If the elected Benchers don’t prioritize entry to authorized data, there could possibly be a discount in help for Legislation Libraries and different organizations that present authorized data and assets. Entry to justice could possibly be restricted. This impairs the authorized occupation as an entire. 
  • Decreased advocacy: If the elected Benchers don’t prioritize the pursuits of Legislation Associations and their members, there could possibly be a lower in advocacy efforts on the occupation’s behalf of the authorized occupation. This might restrict the power of legal professionals to affect insurance policies and choices that have an effect on their work and shoppers.

These sorts of avoidable outcomes influence not solely the members of the Ontario authorized occupation, however entry to justice as nicely. 

Keep knowledgeable and engaged within the election course of, in order that the Bencher you select will advocate for the absolute best final result. 

russell alexander

Russell Alexander

I’m operating as your bencher candidate. Vote for me as a result of I’ll keep watch over the stability sheet, reasonable LSO rules, and enhance entry to justice. Study extra at russellalexander.com/bencher2023