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Access to justice, new courthouse among top issues for TLA

May 11, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sandra Porter
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Access to justice and a multitude of issues around Toronto’s planned centralized criminal courthouse are among those topics engaging the Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA) as its new president Melanie Manchee takes the helm.

It’s a huge concern that the construction of the Toronto courthouse is not going to result in a structure that will serve Torontonians well,” says Manchee, who has begun her one-year term as president of the 130-year-old TLA.

The downtown facility on Centre Avenue, across from the existing courthouse at 361 University Ave. will amalgamate several provincial criminal courthouses scattered around the city.

Work on the site has begun, displacing a large surface parking lot that was heavily used by people attending nearby courthouses. The loss of this space has worsened an already difficult parking challenge, Manchee says. 

The Ministry of the Attorney General has no plans to include public parking with the new courthouse, due, in part, to zoning bylaw limitations, she adds.

I find it hard to understand that. This is a facility built by the public and for the public,” she says. “Why can’t we change the zoning?" 

Defendants and their families who typically attend courthouses relatively close to home will have to come downtown when the new building opens, Manchee says. 

We will have people coming for their court appearance, which is sometimes just a quick adjournment, and there’s no parking,” she says. “We think it’s going to be a big challenge for Torontonians.”

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