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As set out in section 2(1) of the Foundation Agreement, the LCO’s purpose is to recommend law reform measures to:

(a) Enhance the legal system’s relevance, effectiveness and accessibility;

(b) Improve the administration of justice through the clarification and simplification of the law; and

(c) Consider the effectiveness and use of technology as a means to enhance access to justice.

In addition, the Foundation Agreement states that the LCO shall

(a) Stimulate critical debate about law and promote scholarly legal research; and

(b) Develop priority areas for study which are underserved by other research, determine ways to disseminate the information to those who need it and foster links with communities, groups and agencies.

The LCO is independent of both government and interest groups.  It does not receive its agenda from the government, nor is it obliged to review matters at the request of the government. Furthermore, the government is only one of the LCO’s five funders.  Nevertheless, the LCO recognizes that at least one measure of success is the extent to which its recommendations are “taken up” by the government of the day.  Therefore, government’s interest in a proposed project is a factor in selecting among potential projects.  This process is facilitated by the inclusion of the Deputy Attorney General on the Board of Governors and the inclusion of an appointee of the Ministry of the Attorney General on the Research Advisory Board.  Nevertheless, the LCO may conclude that it has other reasons to implement a project, even if the government does not evidence interest in it, since it will be difficult to identify the government’s future interest in the results of complex project  and consistent with the injunction to “stimulate critical debate about law and promote scholarly legal research.”

The LCO will be guided by the following values in all its work:

  1. independence: the recommendations of the LCO will be determined by the results of research, including consultations with the public and experts in the area;
  2. integrity: the LCO is committed to ethical practice and will select projects, carry out research and develop recommendations based on merit and not on the basis of pressure from any quarter;
  3. excellence: the LCO is committed to high quality research, analysis, solutions and production of discussion papers and reports and in its employment and administrative practices;
  4. innovation: the LCO will approach law reform with a commitment to innovation in law and the reconceptualization of legal frameworks;
  5. relevance: the LCO will select projects and make recommendations that are relevant to Ontario society today and in the future;
  6. open-mindedness: the LCO will be open to views from different constituencies at all stages of its projects and will be responsive to suggestions for improvement in all aspects of its operations;
  7. transparency: the LCO will have an open process for project proposals, will explain its process for selection and will disseminate its work widely;
  8. diversity: the LCO is committed to diversity in its selection of projects, its approach to analysis and recommendations and in its interaction with community organizations and groups;
  9. inclusiveness: the LCO will encourage participation by interested groups and individuals, legal and non-legal, in its project selection and project implementation processes and will make every effort to seek out the views of marginalized communities when appropriate to its projects;
  10. multidisciplinarity: the LCO’s research and recommendations will be based on a multi/interdisciplinary and holistic approach;
  11. collaboration: the LCO will collaborate with other law reform commissions and with other organizations involved in (law) reform as appropriate;
  12. pragmatism: the LCO will advance recommendations that can be realistically implemented;
  13. efficiency: the LCO will use its resources efficiently without endangering the high quality of its work and its approach to employees and will not duplicate work done by others or more appropriately done by others; and
  14. accountability: the LCO will be accountable to its partners and to the public for the quality of its work and its adherence to its values.
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