What is this Service?
The goal of Legal Services is to provide responsive, cost effective legal support to Council, Boards and Agencies, and staff on strategic initiatives, legislative compliance, risk management and operations issues, using best efforts to ensure the actions undertaken by the municipality comply with applicable laws and have the desired legal effect.
Specific objectives include:
- Meeting the needs of Council, department heads and staff for timely, accurate and effective legal advice
- Protecting, advocating for, and advancing, the legal interests of the municipality and the public interest
- Providing efficient and cost effective representation of the municipality before the courts and board/tribunals
- Preparing, negotiating and reviewing contracts and agreements effectively to protect the municipality’s interests
- Overseeing the delivery of services under the Provincial Offences Act consisting of administrative, prosecutorial and court support functions
- Demand Drivers: Demand for specific types of legal services differ from municipality to municipality and/or from year to year, e.g. increased hearings activity (municipal zoning by-law and official plans), one-of-a-kind or significant litigation, contracts, projects and collective bargaining processes can impact hours worked and costs associated with in-house and/or external lawyers.
- Organizational Form: Upper-tier and single-tier municipalities provide different services, i.e. whether all legal costs are controlled centrally; mix of external vs. in-house lawyers.
- Policy and Practices: Different services can demand varying levels of legal support. Reimbursement of Legal Fees Indemnification By-laws are handled differently by municipalities.