Area of Law: Human Rights
Answer # 836
Role of lawyers in human rights casesRegion: Ontario Answer # 836
Hiring a lawyer for the purpose of filing or responding to a human rights complaint is not required by law. However, because the legal procedures involved are complicated, a lawyer’s assistance will be helpful.
A lawyer will be able to:
- give you advice about your case,
- assist in filing or responding to a human rights complaint,
- communicate on your behalf with the other party, and with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO),
- represent you in mediation or at a hearing,
- negotiate legally enforceable settlements, and
- ensure that the HRTO staff carry out their roles and procedures appropriately.
The present rules of legal aid do not generally allow for coverage of human rights matters. Therefore, if you hire a lawyer you will be responsible to pay their fee.
Human Rights Legal Support Centre
While the HRTO cannot provide legal advice, applicants can receive assistance from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. The Centre is an independent agency, funded by the Government of Ontario. It offers free services throughout Ontario, including:
- legal assistance in filing applications at the HRTO,
- resolving disputes under the Ontario Human Rights Code,
- negotiating a settlement,
- providing legal representation at mediations and hearings, and
- enforcing orders of the HRTO.
Services of the Centre are not available to respondents.
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