Why Direct Funds to ATJF

Access to Justice Fund Report

Download the 2013 Access to Justice Fund Report

The Law Foundation of Ontario encourages cy-près awards to the Access to Justice Fund because it allows the proceeds to have a meaningful impact on access to justice in cases where distribution to individual class members is not practical.

After receiving its first cy-près award in 2009, the Foundation created the national Access to Justice Fund. This is a permanent fund available to receive cy-près awards. Grants under this program have enhanced linguistic and rural access to justice, Aboriginal issues, self-help, family violence, and consumer rights. The Foundation will distribute any cy-près award it receives in strict compliance with all attached terms and conditions.

Directing a cy-près award to the Foundation’s Access to Justice Fund will allow you to:

  • Fulfill the underlying objectives of class actions, which are a vehicle to improve access to justice.
  • Act in accordance with the best traditions of the legal profession.
  • Contribute to a recognized fund that provides access to justice grants across the country.
  • Entrust funds to a well-respected and mature grant-making organization with a long history of transparency, accountability, and sound financial management.
  • Use cy-près  awards in a manner that has been approved by the courts.

Many courts have approved the LFO as a fitting and accountable recipient of cy-près awards. To date, there have been 16 cy-près awards made to the LFO’s Access to Justice Fund. See the list of class actions that generated cy-près awards received by the LFO and our Access to Justice Fund.

To see the ATJF projects funded from these cy-près awards, visit ATJF grants made.

If you are considering directing a cy-près award to the ATJF and have questions, please contact Tanya Lee, Chief Executive Officer at tlee@lawfoundation.on.ca or 416-598-1570.

In Markson v. MNBA, the court stated that:

The Ontario Law Foundation’s Access to Justice Fund is a suitable recipient of the cy près distribution.  Counsel  propose the Justice Fund as the cy près recipient because it directly achieves one of the overarching goals of the Class Proceedings Act. Specifically, it aids in providing public access to justice throughout Canada.  The Justice Fund is the only national source of grants with an access to justice mandate, and it provides funding to projects that are national, regional or local in scope. . .

When counsel propose a cy près distribution as a term to settle a class action, they often identify a charity that has no connection to the issues in the litigation and no ability to improve access to justice.  In my view this should be avoided.  The recipient of the cy près distribution should either be directly connected to the issues in the class action. . .or like the Law Foundation, able to use the money to further the goals of the Class Proceedings Act.