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Assistance for self-represented parties

The Litigation Assistance Program and Duty Counsel Program are designed to provide assistance to self-represented parties who are involved in an enforcement proceeding or an application for hearing and review before the Capital Markets Tribunal.

Both programs are provided by a roster of external volunteer lawyers and not by the Tribunal. The volunteer lawyers are selected and trained by The Advocates’ Society, a Canadian organization of lawyers that is independent from the Tribunal, which is involved with professional development and advocacy initiatives to promote a fair and accessible system of justice. Although the Tribunal facilitates the administration of the programs, it cannot guarantee that legal services will be available.

Volunteer lawyers provide assistance under the Litigation Assistance Program and Duty Counsel Program free of charge. However, you are responsible for paying for any disbursements, such as photocopy charges or charges relating to document management.

Litigation Assistance Program

Eligibility and applying to the Litigation Assistance Program

Any interested self-represented party to an enforcement proceeding or application for hearing and review before the Tribunal is eligible to apply for assistance. Although you may be eligible to apply, there is no guarantee that you will receive assistance.

Please note: this program does not provide assistance in civil proceedings or quasi-criminal proceedings commenced by the Ontario Securities Commission before the Ontario Court of Justice or appeals before the Divisional Court. To apply for assistance through the Litigation Assistance Program, please complete an application to participate, agreeing to the Terms and Conditions set out, and send it to LAP@osc.gov.on.ca. You may also refer to a list of common questions and answers about the Litigation Assistance Program.

Scope of assistance

Litigation Assistance Program volunteer lawyers may provide litigation assistance for one or more of the following stages of an enforcement proceeding or application for hearing and review before the Tribunal:

  • preliminary attendance
  • confidential conference
  • confidential settlement conference, public settlement hearing or both
  • sanctions and costs hearing
  • motion, on an exceptional basis only

You will typically meet with your volunteer lawyer in advance of the scheduled attendance in order to consult and prepare.

Please note: volunteer lawyers will not provide you with assistance, legal advice or representation for any other part of your proceeding before the Tribunal, including the hearing on the merits. They will also not provide you with assistance, legal advice or representation for any other legal matter.

Availability of the Litigation Assistance Program

The number of volunteer lawyers is limited. Neither the Tribunal nor the program is obligated to provide you with a volunteer lawyer.

A volunteer lawyer may not be available to assist you, may have a conflict of interest that prevents them from being able to assist you, or both. If there is no volunteer lawyer able to assist you, you must represent yourself or retain your own representative.

Providing instructions to counsel

If you are assigned a volunteer lawyer, they will accept instructions only from you, unless you give them written permission to accept instructions from someone else.

A volunteer lawyer may not tell anyone else outside of their firm, or a mentor assigned to them to help them assist you, anything that you tell them about your proceeding unless you give them permission to do so. The volunteer lawyer’s firm and the mentor are also bound in the same way.

Duty Counsel Program

Eligibility

Duty counsel may be available to assist self-represented parties who are appearing in an enforcement proceeding or an application for hearing and review before the Tribunal. 

Please note: the Duty Counsel Program does not provide assistance in civil proceedings or quasi-criminal proceedings commenced by the OSC before the Ontario Court of Justice or appeals before the Divisional Court.

Scope of assistance 

The Duty Counsel Program differs from the Litigation Assistance Program in that it provides legal advice and assistance on the day of the hearing, including representation at the hearing if requested. A party is not required to apply in advance for this program. However, the scope of assistance that a duty counsel can provide on the hearing date is more limited than that provided by a Litigation Assistance Program counsel, specifically due to the inability of a duty counsel to consult with the party and prepare in advance of the hearing. Duty counsel is only available for the following stages of a proceeding:

  • preliminary attendance
  • confidential conference
  • sanctions and costs hearing

This program is available only for in-person hearings. It is not available for hearings held by teleconference, video conference or in writing.

Although a duty counsel is not able to consult with you or prepare in advance of the hearing, on the day of the hearing they can provide immediate legal advice and assistance, including:

On the day of your attendance before the Tribunal, you will be required by duty counsel to complete a legal services retainer form and agree to the terms and conditions it sets out. Give a copy of your signed and completed legal services retainer to the duty counsel.

If you have additional questions, please email LAP@osc.gov.on.ca. You may also refer to a list of common questions and answers about the Duty Counsel Program.

Please note: duty counsel will not provide you with assistance, legal advice or representation for any other part of your proceeding, including the hearing on the merits; nor can they conduct legal research or read all relevant documents. Furthermore, they will be unable to provide you with assistance, legal advice or representation for any other legal matter.

Availability of duty counsel

The number of lawyers on the duty counsel roster is limited. Neither the Tribunal nor the program is obligated to provide you with a lawyer.

A lawyer on the duty counsel roster may not be available to assist you, may have a conflict of interest that prevents them from being able to assist you, or both. If there is no lawyer on the duty counsel roster able to assist you, you must represent yourself or retain your own representative.

Providing instructions to duty counsel

If duty counsel is present on the date of your hearing, they will accept instructions only from you unless you give them written permission to accept instructions from someone other than you.

A volunteer lawyer may not tell anyone else outside of their firm, or a mentor assigned to them to help them assist you, anything that you tell them about your proceeding unless you give them permission to do so. The volunteer lawyer’s firm and the mentor are also bound in the same way.

Law firms with volunteer lawyers participating in the Litigation Assistance Program and Duty Counsel Program

  • DLA Piper
  • Aird & Berlis LLP
  • Lerners LLP