Thursday, December 18, 2008
- a multimedia presentation, Choosing a court. The presentation includes an interactive video to match topics with the relevant court, as well as a video scenario, fact sheet, audio clip and a new Google map option to find local courthouses. December 2008
- extended and advanced search options have been added to the basic search . December 2008
* People's Law School has updated The Child's Right to Love: Information for grandparents, relatives, and others close to the child. 3rd ed. [28pp PDF] October 2008. It can be downloaded from their publications page.
* The Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre provides a Renters' rights pamphlet (Condensed Tenant Survival Guide). [2 pp PDF] The pamphlet is now available in Portugese, as well as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Spanish and English. The pamphlet and guide can be downloaded from their guide and factsheets page. The Centre also provides a Landlord Guide [13 pp PDF] in English, Chinese and Punjabi which can be downloaded from their publications page.
* Canadian Legal FAQs new FAQs:
- Coalition Government and Prorogation of Parliament Updated December 2008
- Travelling with Children September 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
The column reports on a poll commissioned by Legal Services Society that discovered "four of five poor British Columbians have wrestled with a serious, difficult-to-resolve legal problem during the last three years", and that "legal problems have a serious impact on a person's physical and emotional health which, in turn, has a significant impact on health care and social service programs."
The full poll report may be seen at the LSS Service and Program Evaluations page [scroll down to Legal Aid]. The report also lists key sources of non-legal and legal assistance. Unfortunately, public libraries were not listed as a category for non-legal assistance.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A previous toolkit title has been reformatted: Legal Information and Advice BC Toll Free Referral Phone Numbers is now organized by legal subject.
Feedback welcome, and samples of how you have adapted the research guide template also very welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
"Yet if their problems are unaddressed, they're going to have a lot of far more serious issues develop" **
The above excerpt is from a column by Ian Mulgrew in today's Vancouver Sun that describes the good work being done by Access Justice. The organization coordinates volunteer lawyers who help low income clients throughout the province with civil and family disputes, and points out that the need is growing because of the economic downturn.
Access Justice , the Pro Bono Law of BC , and the Salvation Army Pro Bono Program are all important referral resources for low income people to speak to a lawyer in person.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
* Access Justice Fall 2008 newsletter announces the launch of a new free legal clinic at SUCCESS Coquitlam for the Korean community in metro Vancouver.
* New on the Family Law in BC (Legal Services Society) website:
- Fact Sheet for Common Law Relationships: Staying Out of Court discusses mediation and collaborative family law. November 2008
Two new frequently asked questions:
- Do I have to put the name of the other parent on my baby’s birth certificate registration? November 2008
- What is collaborative family law? November 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
* The new Justice Access Centre (JAC) in Nanaimo opened on October 30, and will help people with legal issues such as separation or divorce, income security, employment, housing, or debt. The focus of the JAC is on solving problems through out-of-court settlements, but also to better prepare those who do go to court. Another JAC is expected to open in Vancouver soon.
* New on the Family Law in BC (Legal Services Society) website:
"How to Serve Documents Outside BC" in Farsi [7 pp PDF] October 2007
Aboriginal Child Protection Fact Sheets:
- Understanding Aboriginal Community and Parents' Rights [2 pp PDF] August 2008
- Understanding Court Orders and Hearings [2 pp PDF] August 2008
- Understanding Kith and Kin Care Agreements [2 pp PDF] August 2008
* A new website for the BC Law Institute includes the BC Law Reform Group , the Canadian Centre for Elder Law and the International Law Reform Group .
* Another redesigned website has been launched recently: the Community Legal Assistance Society now includes information on their programs such as the Community and Disability Law Programs , the Mental Health Law Program and the Human Rights Clinic .
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
* Sample Renovation Contract Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation
* An Inside Look at Family Mediation is an 8½-minute video available from Legal Services Society's Family Law in BC website. The video is excerpted from a 2-DVD set created by the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia , September 2008.
* Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care Benefits information and links page on Povnet website, October 2008.
* The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) became law in December 2007, and should become available at financial institutions in late 2008. The RDSP is a new vehicle that will assist families in planning for the long-term financial security of relatives with disabilities. See the PLAN website for an RDSP calculator and telelearning seminar.
* The new RDSP: What you need to know is a useful article published by the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, Fall 2008.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
* Canada's First Community Court opens in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
Tyee article Sept 5, 2008
* Seniors Housing Directory of BC Seniors Services Society, New Westminster. Directory can be searched by type of housing, and area. August 2008
* What happens next? Information for kids about separation and divorce [64 pp. PDF] Department of Justice, Government of Canada. May 2007
* What to Do If You Are Charged with a Drinking and Driving Offence Update [21 pp PDF] On July 2, 2008, new laws on impaired driving came into effect. Order the update from Legal Services Society publications . August 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
* The Rise and Fall of Welfare Time Limits in BC (37 pp. PDF) by Bruce Wallace and Tim Richards. Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group , June 2008
* "How to Sue the Police and Private Security in Small Claims Court" (108 pp, PDF) by David Eby and Emily Rix, download at PIVOT Legal website, 2007
Thursday, August 28, 2008
We also offer a webinar on QP LegalEze and an eight week online course on legal information sources as part of the Public Library Services Branch training program, for staff who work in public or Aboriginal libraries in BC:
* QP LegalEze October 30 and November 19
* Family Law in BC website [presenter from Legal Services Society] check here in early September for dates.
The eight week CLTP course in Legal Information Sources [202c] will be offered again starting October 6, 2008, registration deadline September 8.<<
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
* "How to serve documents and complete an Affidavit of Service for a BC Supreme Court family law process" for people who have to serve documents outside BC. (in Chinese, Tagalog , and Vietnamese). Legal Services Society, Family Law in BC. The website also provides a new database of multilingual publications, July 2008.
* The Internet has become indispensible to the legal world Column by Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun. Recommends a list of sites for research and general legal information. August 11, 2008
* Legal Aid Can Help 6th edition. Describes the legal aid services available to people with low incomes, and sets out who might be eligible for them (and how and where to apply). Demonstrates how legal aid can resolve common legal problems through fictional examples of common legal problems. (16 pp, PDF) Legal Services Society, April 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
* New Resource: Vancouver's Battered Women’s Support Services Legal Advocacy Resource Room for women preparing to represent themselves in court on family law matters.
* New fact sheets published by the Scow Institute of Aboriginal legal information:
- Aboriginal Courts in Canada (PDF 5pp) April 2008
- Aboriginal Peoples and Intellectual Property Rights (PDF 7pp) January 2008
- Comparative Governance Structures Among Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (PDF 6pp) January 2008
- Elderlaw: Relationships and Relevance to the Needs of Aboriginal Elders (PDF 4pp) January 2008
- Matrimonial Real Property on Reserve in Canada (PDF 5pp) March 2008
- Review of Changes to the Law Related to Forestry and Aboriginal Rights and Title Updates in the law 2005 - April 2008 (PDF 11pp) 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Although the sample size of self represented litigants [people going to court on their own] was small, their comments indicate the kinds of information that would help them. The following answers were in response to the question "What, if any, additional information would you have found useful to help you represent yourself?" [p.51]
* Access to cases of a similar nature.
* The main thing I needed help with was how a trial/hearing goes. The etiquette and format. For instance, I wanted to call a witness to support that my son had stayed with me for longer than stated by my ex. I didn’t know that she should not be in the court to hear other evidence.
* I would have liked help with the order of events in court. (e.g. opening and closing statements, cross examination etc.).
* A glossary of legal jargon utilized by the judge.
* Potential outcomes in the case.
* How to proceed when a party misrepresents the truth under oath.
* Outline of court procedure.
* I needed to know more about the consequences of not going to court. Now I feel that I should have gone even though everyone advised me not to go.
* More on actual procedures and how to word applications, motions and variations.
There are resources in BC than can help with these questions, such as the LawMatters list of recommended titles for public libraries, the Electronic Law Library , the Courthouse Library , the BC Supreme Court Self-Help Information Centre , Lawyer Referral Service and Supreme Court Duty Counsel.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
* Video Tutorials provided by the BC Courthouse Library Society. Six short videos assist viewers with Researching Legislation and Finding Precedents.
* Pivot Legal Tenant's Rights Card for Vancouver's Downtown Eastside residents.
* Legal Services Society's LawLine Frequently Asked Questions ; also see useful information about LawLine .
* Courts of BC: Your Guide to the BC Court System provides a Teacher's Guide, Student Handouts and a Glossary .
* Small Claims Court of BC has a new website with a short video, links to forms and glossary.
* A Layman's Guide to ICBC Part 7 Benefits. Provided by the firm of Murphy Battista, this guide outlines the process to apply for car accident benefits and the type and amount of benefits available to an injured person and/or to the family of an accident victim.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
“There is a not insignificant group that simply doesn’t want to have a lawyer represent them and choose to make their own case,” says Robyn Elliott, a partner with MacDonald Elliott Legal Services in Halifax and chair of the CBA’s National Family Law Section. “These people feel very comfortable getting legal information from the Internet, including websites such as that run by the Department of Justice.” Elliott says that “individuals today generally feel more empowered and have more ability to do research. A surprising number of people arriving at my office already have researched and printed out the tables for child support.”
The article points out that approximately 60% of access and custody cases at the Ontario Court of Justice are started by people without a lawyer. However, this does not mention whether these people were able to use some brief legal advice from a service such as family duty counsel, pro bono free clinics or, in some provinces, a legal advice phone service such as BC's LawLine.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Annotated Family Practice 2007-2008 published by Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
For patrons who cannot find their family law question in any of the Self Counsel Press titles, the Annotated Family Practice contains easy to understand annotations of the relevant family law statutes, rules and regulations, and can be useful to find family law cases.
Sample question: I’m asking for an interim custody order, and I’ve heard that the court often considers something called ‘status quo’. Where could I look up what that means?
British Columbia Family Practice Manual published by CLE
For more in depth procedural information, you can direct a patron to this title, which helps the lay litigant understand the processes involved in building and conducting a family law case and finding applicable cases. It contains forms, precedents, and checklists, and covers divorce, custody, access, guardianship, support, child protection and adoption.
Sample question: I think my ex-husband’s income has increased substantially since our child support order was put in place several years ago. What are some ways his income and assets could be traced?
Desk Order Divorce published by CLE
This title is an excellent step-by-step ‘hand-holding’ guide for patrons who are seeking an uncontested divorce, where the other party is in agreement. It is written for legal support staff, and includes annotated forms, precedents and relevant legislation.
Sample question: Is there something that could show me how to say on my divorce application that our marriage has ended because of admitted adultery?
Cohabitation: The Law In Canada published by Thomson Carswell
This guide for the legal aspects of living common-law is written for practicing lawyers in family law but is easy to read. It covers property rights, support, death, cohabitation agreements, children, pensions, tax, and same-sex cohabitation.
Sample question: I’m researching the history of same sex law in Canada, and looking for a BC case involving the disputed settling of an estate after one of the same sex common law partners died. Where could I find that case?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
* The B.C. Student Assistance Program is now StudentAid BC . The forms page includes Chinese and Punjabi translations of What is Student Aid?
* New on the Family Law in BC website:
One new fact sheet: Family Case Conference checklist
One new Who can help? page: Representative for Children and Youth
Three new PDF self help guides:
How to serve documents and complete an Affidavit of Service for a BC (Canada) Supreme Court family law process (in English, Punjabi, and Spanish) for people who have to serve documents outside BC.
Three new English transcripts of family law videos :
one for Ruptura del Contrato de Esponsoramiento (Sponsorship Breakdown — Spanish)
one for (Haga Su Propio Divorcio Do Your Own Divorce — Spanish)
one for Solicitudes Internas de Esponsoramiento (Inland Sponsoring Applications — Spanish)
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Chapter 1, Access to Justice and the Rule of Law (PDF), is the outcome of the working group chaired by Lloyd Axworthy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada and currently President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. The following is an excerpt from a discussion of legal information and education on pages 18 - 22:
"For a person with limited resources trying to get access to justice, the first (and sometimes the only) option is to decide what she can do herself. Her time may be less scarce than money. If she can find ways to solve the problem without paying legal fees that is what she will tend to prefer. So a first strategy for legal empowerment may be to enhance the possibilities for self-help in the area of access to justice. ... There is a certain tendency to equate access to justice with access to legal services, assuming that the only road to justice leads through lawyers and courts. This is rapidly changing, however, now that even the Western world discovers that many people appear in courts without legal representation and that information about legal rights and dispute resolution is an essential tool for empowerment, as well as for prevention of social strife. [pp.18 - 19.]"
Thursday, June 19, 2008
* On behalf of the Okanagan Regional Library Board and staff, I would like to thank you and the Law Foundation of British Columbia for funding the LawMatters project. Not only is the grant a wonderful thing, but we are also thankful for the staff educational courses that are a part of your overall plan.
As a regional library, we cover 23,000 square miles in the southern interior of the province. We have many small rural branches, and it can be a challenge to keep the legal collections up to date. Some of the materials ordered have already started to arrive, and they will soon be available in our branches. I know that library users in our 29 communities will use the collection a great deal.
Ted Bacigalupo, Chair
Okanagan Regional Library Board
* We wish to thank you for your talk on May 21st at New Pathways to Government and Legal Information, the workshop sponsored by the British Columbia Library Association Information Policy Committee.
We have had many positive comments from participants about how much we appreciate that the BC Courthouse Library has stepped up to the plate to initiate the LawMatters project, building on the work begun by Legal Services Society. We predict that there will be strong support from librarians at both public and academic libraries. Our experience is that people needing legal information are often under great stress, so we want to make their research experience successful. At the same time we recognize that not everyone can be a specialist in finding legal information and it is a great boon to be able to use the expertise of the BC Courthouse librarians.
for the BCLA Information Policy Committee
Monday, May 12, 2008
* Legal Services Society provides legal aid in BC, and has also redesigned their website. One new feature is a page for community worker resources, with a link to LSS workshops and conferences.
* Planned Lifetime Advocacy (PLAN) is a not-for-profit charity created by and for families who have a relative with a disability. Their goal is "to ensure a safe and secure future for your relative with a disability and, in the process, to provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind." PLAN now offers two online workshops : Wills, Trusts and Estates Online, and Home is Where the Heart is, which explores the different home options available for a relative with a disability.
Two new resources featured on the BC Courthouse Library website's What's New section:
* The Law Society of BC has released two new Task Force Reports:
- Report of The Family Law Task Force (PDF, 25 pages). The Task Force proposed that a best practices guideline for professionalism in family law should be created.
- Report of the Unbundling of Legal Services Task Force (PDF, 51 pages). "Unbundling" refers to a situation where a lawyer provides limited scope services to a client, such as help with drafting documents, coaching or limited court appearance, rather than full representation. Unbundling of legal services can be a way for many people who represent themselves in court to get legal advice.
* An update of Law Books for Libraries List of Recommended Titles, May 2008. Thirteen additional titles have been added to the core list of legal information titles for public libraries.
* A Brief Guide to Finding Court Documents has been added to the Legal Information Toolkits for Public Libraries. It gives sample questions library patrons might ask, possible responses, and tips for searching court documents.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
* The Scow Institute recent additons of Aboriginal legal information: Five new research papers and fact sheets , April 2008.
• Comparative Governance Structures Among Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
• Elderlaw: Relationship and Relevance to the Needs of Aboriginal Elders
• Matrimonial Property on Reserve in Canada
• Intellectual Property and Aboriginal Peoples: Conflict or Compromise?
• Aboriginal Courts in Canada
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I was looking at older postings on the LawMatters Blog and I saw your mention of the Legal Information Access Centre in NSW, Aus. I was wondering if you were familiar with the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux in New Zealand? Often they’re housed in libraries and are a very useful way of making legal information available to the public.
Hope this information is useful!
Apparently the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux are run mostly with volunteers, and are an independent social service with a variety of funders, and use a similar model to those in England and Australia. They seem to be a good way to get legal information out to rural as well as urban centres. Thanks for the reference, Shelley!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Surrey Public Library is hosting a series of workshops in partnership with People's Law School, on the topics of Wills and Estates , and Landlord & Tenant Law with a speaker from the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre.
Monday, April 7, 2008
* The following courses in legal information are available for staff who work in public or Aboriginal libraries in BC, and offered through the Public Library Services Branch:
QP LegalEze May 13 and June 9
Family Law in BC website May 14 and June 11 [presenter from the Legal Services Society]
Residential Tenancy Law May 26 and June 5 [presenter from the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre]
The eight week CLTP course in Legal Information Sources [202c]http://www.bcpl.gov.bc.ca/lsb/cltp/courses.html#202b will be offered again starting Oct 6, 2008
By completing the survey, you will be entered in a draw to win one of three iPod shuffles! The draw for the first iPod shuffle takes place on Tuesday, April 15. The survey takes less than ten minutes to complete.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
- BC Government Agents offices are now known as Service BC Centres. Their website lists 59 centres, and clicking on an individual office will give you a list of services available, as well as a list of statutory appointments, contact information and office hours. Service BC provides an index and links to all the services.
- Updated publications from Legal Services Society: Benefits, Services, and Resources for Aboriginal Peoples, 3rd ed., October 2007; Your Welfare Rights: A Guide to BC Employment and Assistance, 20th ed., 2008; For Your Protection: Peace Bonds and Restraining Orders, 2nd ed., December 2007.
- An example of interesting public legal information is Artists in the Black Legal Information Comics. As part of the ongoing education program of its Artists in the Black project, the Arts Law Centre of Australia has created a series of comics to address the following legal issues, relating to Indigenous artists and comunities. Topics include Contracts, Copyright, Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property, and Moral Rights.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
2. Access Justice Winter Newsletter 2008 (click on pdf link) page 3: "Q & A about Access Justice Clients".
3. Family Law in BC new video clip: "Choosing a Court" and seven new fact sheets: "Can you get custody of your younger brother or sister?" "If your parents separate, can you decide which parent you want to live with?" "Family Case Conferences in Provincial Court" "Can you sue your parents for support?" "Costs" "Do you need your parents' permission to see a doctor?" "When does child support end?"
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
* Law Week April 14 - 20, 2008, organized by the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch. Several communities throughout BC organize events such as free law classes, open houses and citizenship court. For information on law week events around the province, call Nadine Penner at CBA/BC: 1-888-687-3404 or 604-646-7868,local 328 in the Lower Mainland.
* People's Law School Speakers Program offers qualified volunteer speakers to community groups in BC. Sample legal topics include Employment Standards, ICBC and Personal Injury Claims, Landlord and Tenant Law, Power of Attorney & Other Options, Scams to Avoid, Separation and Divorce, Starting a Small Business, Volunteers and the Law, Wills & Estates.
* BC Politics
* First Nations Land Claims and Treaties in British Columbia
* Human Rights
* Immigrating to Canada
* Nonprofit Survival Kit Series - Part 1 : Establishment & Management
Thursday, January 31, 2008
*Expedited Litigation in Supreme Court – Rule 68 (updated
*How to prepare your civil case tip sheet
*How to behave in civil court tip sheet
*How to take notes during your civil trial tip sheet
*Taking Your Case to the Supreme Court of BC - in Cantonese
The complete list of 17 Guidebooks for Representing Yourself In Supreme Court is also available.
2. Legal Services Society Family Law in BC:
*Getting legal aid if your children are (or may be) taken away
3. BC Courthouse Library Society:
*PLEI Portal Special Project
Monday, January 28, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
* Legal Services Society of BC. Legal Aid Public Service Announcement: Legal Talk (.wmv file)
* Legal Services Society of BC. LawLine Journal: Shoplifting And Scary Notices
* Western Canada Society to Access Justice. Picture Story: Falsely Acused!
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
The following courses in legal information are available for staff who work in public or Aboriginal libraries in BC:
- Free webinars offered through the Public Library Services Branch:
*1 hour webinar on BC Codes (Building, Fire) Jan. 28, Feb. 7
*1.5 hour webinar on Family Law in BC Jan. 23rd, Feb. 20th, Mar. 19th
*2 hour webinar on QP LegalEze Jan. 16, Feb. 13, Mar. 12
You can register here for these webinars.
- Introduction to Legal Information Sources is an online Community Librarian Training Program course, also offered through the Public Library Services Branch. The Jan. - Feb. class is now full, and the course will be offered again in September 2008.
- There will be a series of LawMatters workshops available at a number of libraries and regional systems throughout 2008. Plans are under way for workshops with the Kootenay Library Federation, the North Central Library Federation, the North Coast Library Federation, as well as at the BCLA spring conference.