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The terms of reference for the external reviews of the Sheriff’s Office and the legal aid system in Newfoundland and Labrador were released today.
Retired RCMP Insp. Leigh DesRoches has been retained for the review of the Sheriff’s Office while retired provincial court Judge John Rorke will complete the work on the legal aid system.
“The review of the Sheriff’s Office will be important in helping us determine the optimal resourcing levels and structure required in Newfoundland and Labrador going forward,” said Justice Minister Darin King in a news release.
“It will provide us with valuable information on what is currently working and what could potentially be done better as we continue to provide vital security in our court rooms while ensuring that public funds are being used most appropriately. Mr. DesRoches has a wealth of experience and I appreciate him agreeing to complete this review.”
The review of the Sheriff’s Office will assess operations to determine best practices and to make recommendations on organizational structure and risk management. The review will also provide recommendations on the most cost-efficient alignment of resources and functions to effectively meet the requirements of the Sheriff’s Office.
The legal aid review will thoroughly examine the delivery of legal aid services in the province in ensuring that residents have appropriate access to justice. Areas to be reviewed include workload of staff, geographical, cultural and economic challenges to the delivery of service, the use of private counsel and an examination of the current administrative model.
Terms of Reference of the External Review of the Office of the High Sheriff
A comprehensive review of the Office of the High Sheriff shall be undertaken and a report submitted to the Department of Justice within three months of retention. The mandated review shall assess operations to determine best practices and to make recommendations on organizational structure and risk management. The review should consider the following components:
1. A security audit including:
· Present an effective risk management approach in consideration of the operational environment(s);
· Review the existing staffing model of court security services; and,
· Propose a staffing model to maximize efficiencies.
2. An organizational structure analysis to ensure it supports effectively meeting the mandate of the Office.
The review must provide recommendations on the most cost-efficient alignment of resources and functions to effectively meet the requirements of the Office of the High Sheriff. A final report must be submitted to the Department of Justice, Public Safety and Enforcement Branch.
Biography of Leigh DesRoches
Over his 42-year career with the RCMP, retired Insp. Leigh DesRoches worked in progressively responsible positions in Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. DesRoches began his detachment work in 1972, and proceeded to be appointed Supervisor with the Commercial Crime Section in 1987.
Subsequently he became Bureau Manager with Criminal Intelligence Service Newfoundland and Labrador, and in 2001 was appointed Officer in Charge of Integrated Proceeds of Crime for Newfoundland and Labrador. Upon retirement, Mr. DesRoches had served for 10 years as Officer in Charge of Financial Crime for the province.
DesRoches is a Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. He brings a wealth of experience in the justice system and knowledge of security services to this assignment.
Terms of Reference of the External Review of Legal Aid in Newfoundland and Labrador
A comprehensive review of legal aid in Newfoundland and Labrador shall be undertaken and a report submitted to the Department of Justice within three months of retention. The review will examine the cost-effectiveness of the delivery of legal aid services in ensuring that the residents of the province have access to justice. The review should consider:
· The development of the current staff/certificate model;
· Review and analysis of the current staff/certificate model including:
o Workload: Solicitor, Management, Administrative;
o Specific challenges to the delivery of services: geographical, cultural, and economic;
o Conflict of Interest Offices;
o Private Counsel Certificates (including the current tariff);
o Choice of Counsel mandate;
o Specialty Offices;
o Duty Counsel;
· Review and analysis of the current administrative model including;
o Management/Executive structure;
o Hiring processes, review and performance management;
o Corporate Services including Human Resources, Financial management, policy development;
· Recommendations on legal aid services that should be enhanced, maintained, or reduced.
The review shall reflect the following principles:
· The Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission’s mission is to ensure all eligible residents of Newfoundland and Labrador and non-residents receive competent legal advice and representation;
· The Commission operates as a Crown agency at arm’s length from government;
· The Commission must be accountable to the members of the public which it serves for the quality of legal services it provides;
· The solicitors employed by the Commission must be accountable to their clients, the Law Society, and the Commission for the quality of their work and their ethical behavior;
· The management and direction of the Commission must demonstrate expertise in the law and in the legal needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians;
· The Legal Aid Commission staff are a valued and important component of a successful legal system; and,
· The information received by the Legal Aid Commission from people who seek and/or receive assistance from the Commission is subject to solicitor client privilege.
Biography of John Rorke
Retired Provincial Court Judge John Rorke was admitted to the Bar in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1977. He served in private practice for five years in the areas of criminal and family law and frequently represented persons covered by legal aid certificates.
From 1981 to 1989, Mr. Rorke worked as a Crown attorney for the province before being appointed as a Provincial Court Judge in Corner Brook and St. John’s responsible for handling criminal and family cases in adult and youth courts. He served as a judge until his retirement in 2007.
During his career, Mr. Rorke was twice elected to the governing body of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and also served as President of the Newfoundland Judges’ Association for several years. Since his retirement, he has served as acting Child and Youth Advocate and currently sits as a part-time commissioner with the Royal Newfoundland and Labrador Constabulary Public Complaints Commission.