FROM ADVOCATE DAILY: Legal Aid means litigants less likely to settle

But there may be behind-the-scenes complicating factors

From this week’s AdvocateDaily:

A family court judge known for his strongly worded decisions is critiquing litigants who find little incentive to settle because they are funded by legal aid, says Ottawa family lawyer Timothy N. Sullivan.

While Sullivan, principal of SullivanLaw, says Justice Alex Pazaratz is right in pointing out such flaws, there are always factors behind the scenes that may force parties to litigate.

“The judge is correct to say there is no financial incentive to settle when you’re legally aided, but there’s also no other recourse for someone who may be abused than to go to court and, if it’s not criminal, ask for a civil restraining order,” Sullivan tells

“Many of these cases are clogging up the system, we have people accused of murder having charges stayed because they can’t get to a judge on time, but we have people legally aided, who feel desperate and have no other recourse than to go to court.”

In the recent ruling from Pazaratz – who also wrote a decision known as “Breaking Bad Parents” – he bemoans taxpayer-funded cases that should be settled out of court instead of racking up costs and court time.

“The next time anyone at Legal Aid Ontario tells you they’re short of money, don’t believe it. It can’t possibly be true. Not if they’re funding cases like this,” he wrote.


To read the full article, and others by Timothy Sullivan, visit AdvocateDaily.