Re-imagining Legal Aid and LUO 2019 AGM

Re-imagining Legal Aid and LUO 2019 AGM

Saturday, November 9, 2019
60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto (Friends House)

Conference 1 PM – 5 PM
Dinner (vegan/gluten free) around 5:30 PM
LUO 2019 AGM : 6 PM
After-party to follow at Gabby’s Bar, 192 Bloor St. W.

A conference organized by Legal Aid for All (, a working group of the Law Union of Ontario.

Join us as we envision alternative forms of legal practice that support social movements, accessibility of the law, and justice for all – a timely conversation in light of the recent cuts and a neoliberal agenda of “modernization” for legal aid announced by the province. #LegalAidForAll

Suggested registration fee: $20-70 (pay what you can). Students and community members free. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The venue is wheelchair-accessible (the accessible entrance is through the back parking lot). Simultaneous transcription will be provided. Childcare will be available. Light refreshments will be served. The conference may be audio-recorded.


1 PM – Registration

1:30 PM – Legal Aid for Social Change

Confirmed Speakers: Elene Lam, Lindsay Jennings, John Clarke, Lyndon George
Moderator: jasleen kaur johal

In the context of an unjust colonial legal and political system, justice means more than state-funded lawyers representing individuals in courts or tribunals. It requires a challenge to those systems. In this panel we will hear from community organizers experienced in fighting towards a just society. They will share their insights on how lawyers, legal workers and legal aid systems can support the work of social movements in building community power and transforming society. They will also share perspectives on what values should shape radical legal practice, and what approaches and attitudes work or don’t work in empowering communities.

2:45 PM – Visions of Visionaries

Confirmed Speakers: Golta Shahidi, Jackie Esmonde, Swathi Sekhar
Moderator: Sharry Aiken

Building a sustainable legal aid system may feel unimaginable due to our current political climate, but it is in our power. It always has been. The first step is to imagine. If we shed the strictures of our current legal aid system, how would we replace it? What tools could we use to make the justice system serve marginalized communities? Join our panel of visionary legal workers as they share their ideal modes of legal aid and legal service delivery, and help them envision how we could get there.

4 PM – What’s next for Legal Aid? How do we defend it?

Confirmed Speakers: Aidan Macdonald, Michele Leering, Sang-Hun Mun
Moderators: Sheru Abdulhusein

The focus of this panel is addressing the immediate existential threat to Ontario’s legal aid system. We hope to generate an exchange of ideas about what has been done, what is currently being done, and future actions we can take to stop the cuts and prevent further butchery of legal aid. This panel will provide a space for members who work in different sectors and areas of law to collaborate, share information, and draw from each other’s activities to devise new ways forward.

The attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in an interactive photography project intended to facilitate reflection about access to justice throughout the conference.

CPD: 3 substantive hours (Professionalism/EDI accreditation pending).

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