Included in 2023's law society budget is increased spending on courthouse law libraries.
In late October, Convocation voted in favour of a $17 increase, totalling $200 for each county library fund. There has been significant debate within the law society, with conservative circles discussing the need for fiscal restraint.
The budget vote comes on the heels of an open letter that was submitted to the Law Society, written by the Federation of Ontario Law Associations, which was advocating for increased funding for libraries to continue their operations in support at a county level.
At present there are 48 courthouse law libraries across the province. These act as resource centres. Taken from license fees, the LSO puts money into these resource centres and the argument in favour of this is that it lowers the overhead for licensees to have a well funded library. Approximately ten percent of a lawyer's fees to the law society go towards the libraries.
The main practical rationale for this fee is that the libraries offer access to information that a lawyer would otherwise procure for a much higher price. Services such as Reuters' Westlaw, vLex and Lexis Nexis are not cheap and annually could cost nearly $9,000 if a lawyer were to try to buy it on their own