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As set out in section 2(1) of the Agreement creating the LCO which has been renewed, 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 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’s mission is to become a leading voice in law reform in Canada. Leadership includes helping to identify the parameters of law reform; encouraging debate about law reform and law reform initiatives; producing in-depth research that explores the issues in a law reform project and providing high level analysis of the areas identified; engaging in multidisciplinary analysis that recognizes the impact of law on the communities it affects; and making feasible recommendations directed at making the law forward-looking, responsive to the needs of affected communities and comprehensive in approach.
In satisfying its mandate or purpose and achieving its mission, the LCO will be guided by the following values:
independence and impartiality: the LCO is an independent body, the recommendations of which are determined by research, including input by the public, the government and experts in the area;
integrity: the LCO is committed to ethical practice and selects projects, carries out research and develops recommendations based on merit;
excellence: the LCO is committed to high quality research and analysis; it pursues excellence in the production of discussion papers and reports and in its employment and administrative practices;
transparency: the LCO has an open process for project proposals, explains its process for selection and disseminates its work widely;
innovation: the LCO approaches law reform with a commitment to innovation in law and the reconceptualization of legal frameworks and with a commitment to learn from experience and others;
open-mindedness, diversity and multidisciplinarity: the LCO is open to views from different constituencies at all stages of its projects; is committed to diversity in its selection of projects, its approach to analysis and recommendations and in its interaction with community organizations and groups; and bases its research and recommendations on a multidisciplinary approach;
collaboration: the LCO collaborates with other law reform commissions and with other organizations involved in (law) reform as appropriate;
relevance and pragmatism: the LCO selects projects and makes realistic recommendations that are relevant to Ontario society today and in the future, taking into account the needs of Ontario’s diverse population and the challenges facing government;
efficiency: the LCO uses its resources efficiently and creatively without endangering the high quality of its work and its excellence of its treatment of employees.
The values governing the LCO’s work reflect and inform a particular approach to law reform appropriate for a contemporary law reform body that measures success by its impact in the future, its relationships with communities and contributions other than those associated with specific law reform projects, as well as in achieving more immediate legal changes.
This approach affects the way the LCO operates, its choice of law reform projects and the way in which it undertakes those projects. It has undertaken and will continue to undertake a mix of projects: “black letter” law projects, focusing on legislation; and broader projects, with law at their core, but exploring the way law affects and is affected by developments in other areas of people’s lives (“law in context” projects). The LCO is committed to considering law reform proposals from a variety of sources, including the legal community, government, community groups and the public at large; to consulting with those affected by the areas of law it is researching at various stages of a project; and to engaging with the government about its interest in law reform projects.
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