Court Services Division

Office Snapshot

  • Location: Toronto
  • Lawyers: 20
  • Articling Students: 1
  • Summer Law Students: 0
  • Types of Law: Family, Civil, Criminal

Who we are

Court Services Division (CSD) is the Ministry of the Attorney General's largest division and operates the largest and busiest court system in Canada, and one of the largest in North America. Our mission is to provide a modern and professional court service that supports accessible, fair, timely and effective justice services.

Our policy, planning and program development functions are managed by the following five branches within CSD:

  • Criminal/POA Policy and Programs Branch
  • Family Policy and Programs Branch
  • Civil Policy and Programs Branch
  • Corporate Planning Branch
  • Divisional Support Branch.

What we do

Counsel working with the Court Services Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General:

  • Provide legal advice and program support to senior management and court staff across the province
  • Work collaboratively with other divisions within the Ministry, the judiciary, court field operations, the bar, the Rules Committees, justice sector partners, other ministries, other court jurisdictions, municipalities and Federal, Provincial and Territorial colleagues
  • Provide strategic legal/operational/policy analysis and advice
  • Develop and implement legislative, regulatory and program initiatives relating to the civil, criminal and family justice systems
  • Develop operational policies in compliance with the governing legislation and regulations.

Our major initiatives

We have been involved in the following major initiatives:

  • Implemented recommendations from the Honourable Coulter Osborne’s Civil Justice Reform Project report (including developing changes to a regulation under the Courts of Justice Act and working with the Civil Rules Committee on changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure).
  • Implemented recommendations of the Justice and Media Panel (including the Cameras in the Court of Appeal Pilot Project).
  • Developed a first memorandum of understanding with the Office of the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice.
  • Developed Restraining Order Index and Standard Form Restraining Order pilot programs to enhance communications between courts and police in domestic violence cases.
  • Worked with the Family Rules Committee to amend Rule 15 of the Family Law Rules to make motions to change more accessible for litigants.
  • Established a regulatory framework to enable municipal local option ticketing programs for parking infractions.
  • Ongoing work to improve the way the criminal justice system responds to accused persons with mental health issues.

What students do

We provide articling students with a unique opportunity to be involved in the full range of policy and legislative projects, ushering policy decisions affecting Ontario courts through the legislative and regulatory processes, and actively engaging in the program development, implementation and monitoring stages. Working at the head office in Toronto, articling students are actively involved in all areas of work including preparation of:

  • Memoranda of law
  • Cross-jurisdictional research
  • Discussion papers related to law and rules reform.

Our articling students:

  • Work with counsel to prepare briefing materials for senior management and the Attorney General
  • Participate in program and policy development
  • Work on legislative and regulatory changes
  • Attend meetings with members of the judiciary and the bar and other justice system participants
  • Participate in ministry and cross-ministry committees established to consider legislative, regulatory, and policy initiatives.

Why choose us

We offer students with a keen interest in legal policy development, legislation and government an unparalleled opportunity to learn the inner workings of the justice system.

Our students are provided with the skills to prepare them for a dynamic and rewarding legal career, whether in government, the court system, non-profit sector, academia or as in-house counsel.

Articling at CSD will provide you with opportunities to:

  • Experience policy in action
  • Develop statutory interpretation, legal research and analysis skills
  • Develop programs that enhance the public’s access to justice
  • Interact with the judiciary and key justice stakeholders
  • Make a difference in the way justice services are delivered in Ontario
  • Learn how other government offices work by participating in a short assignment to another MAG legal office.

Contact us

Lisa Minuk
Counsel, Criminal/POA Policy and Programs Branch

Brandon Parlette
Counsel, Civil Policy and Programs Branch

Katie Wood
Counsel, Family Policy and Programs Branch