What the policy is about
Roster and panel management
Where to find the policy
Summary of updates
Roster lawyers are the most important way LAA helps deliver services to Albertans. We’ve already told you about one important change to how we manage our roster – the introduction of a new panel for youth criminal defence work. We need to create a policy framework to support these kinds of panels.
We also wanted to refresh how we respond to concerns about the services our roster lawyers have provided. For example, under our present policy, LAA generally does not remove or suspend a roster lawyer without convening a committee of three members of its Board of Directors. This is out of step with our peer legal aid plans and is inconsistent with the governance focus of our Board, and limits LAA’s flexibility when we need to investigate and respond to concerns.
We’re maintaining arms-length review of our roster management decisions – by giving lawyers the ability to appeal our decisions to the Appeals Committee. This will offer our roster lawyers far more procedural fairness than most of our peer legal aid plans. Many provinces only offer roster lawyers an appeal to a manager.
1. We’re creating a policy framework for specialized panels within our roster. This includes explaining the rules that apply to panel members and defining how we select lawyers for these panels.
See part 2
2. We’re creating a new quality-of-service review process. People sometimes contact LAA with concerns about the qualify of service offered by our roster lawyers. We don’t have a clear policy for how (and when) we will follow up on these concerns. We know not every concern is worthy of investigation by the Law Society, and we don’t want to duplicate the Law Society’s regulatory role, by enforcing ethical rules or minimum standards of competence. But we also want to investigate and respond when someone raises a non-ethical but meaningful concern.
The idea isn’t to demand perfection, or to punish roster lawyers for good-faith mistakes. And we don’t want to inquire into trivial concerns, like a client’s complaint that the lawyer took too long to call them back. Our goal is to create a fair process to help roster lawyers who might be struggling, by connecting them with resources they need to ensure LAA’s vulnerable clients are well-served.
See part 3
3. We’re moving responsibility for oversight from a Roster Committee of our Board of Directors to the Appeals Committee. We’ve clearly defined the circumstances when LAA management can suspend or remove someone from the roster, and we’ve explained the process for appealing these decisions to our Appeals Committee.
See parts 4 and 5
Administrative Policy 4
Review of client eligibility decisions
Administrative Policy 5
Case management and certificate-based matters