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UBC Law Review. Volume 33, Number 2 (2000), p. 243-284.


The issue of quality in the provision of legal services to low income individuals has become an area of increasing concern and investigation in a number of different jurisdictions around the world. In Ontario, this issue has been addressed, at least in part, through the implementation of a formal quality assurance program providing for regular quality monitoring and control in the province's community legal clinic system. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the program, which has completed in-depth site visits at over one-third of the province's 70 community clinics, has had a beneficial effect on individual clinics and the clinic system as a whole in Ontario. There exists strong support for the quality assurance program among clinics and experience shows that clinics are implementing the program's recommendations as well as taking proactive steps to improve quality prior to formal reviews. Despite this success, the program has been faced with many difficult issues since its inception. These issues include the appropriateness of client file reviews, the relationship of the quality assurance program to funding decisions, and the extent to which lawyers' work should be supervised within a clinic. Legal Aid Ontario, which has recently taken over responsibility of Ontario's legal aid plan from the Law Society of Upper Canada, has been given a specific mandate to implement a quality assurance program for the legal aid system as a whole and will be forced to address these same issues as it implements such a program.


Credit notice for original publication: Zemans, Frederick H, “The Community Legal Clinic Quality Assurance Program: An Innovative Experience in Quality Assurance in Legal Aid” (2000) 33:2 UBC L Rev 243.

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