The Community & Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) – a free legal clinic at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School – will receive funding from Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to provide family law services. An experiential education program, students involved with CLASP are supervised by licensed lawyers and work directly with clients.
LAO announced on Sept. 2 that it will provide more than $2 million over three years to six university-operated legal clinics to provide family law services for low-income Ontarians. In addition to CLASP, the other clinics include University of Toronto’s Downtown Legal Services, Queen’s University’s Legal Aid, University of Ottawa’s Community Legal Clinic, Western University’s Community Legal Services and University of Windsor’s Community Legal Aid.
“We are pleased that LAO and Osgoode, working together, will now provide family law services through CLASP,” said clinic director Marian MacGregor. “Our students will gain invaluable experience in family law and our clients will be provided with much-needed services in an area where there needs to be greater access to the legal system for low-income families.”
MacGregor said CLASP, which currently provides legal representation and summary advice in administrative law, criminal law and immigration law matters, will be hiring a family law lawyer this fall to help establish the clinic’s family law division and get the word out to the public that Osgoode will be offering this community service.
There will be a mix of Osgoode student volunteers and credit students working in the family law division, MacGregor said. CLASP will also continue to have law students and social work students working together to offer more holistic supports for clients and an “interdisciplinary, educational experience” for students.
LAO is an independent but publicly funded and publicly accountable non-profit corporation.