Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Legal Information Online Update

* Law Courts Education Society of BC. What is Cyberbullying? March 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

Legal Empowerment of the Poor Report

Making the Law Work for Everyone, Volume I (PDF) , was released on June 3rd,2008 by The Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor. The Commission is the first global initiative to focus specifically on the link between exclusion, poverty and law.

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

Appreciations for LawMatters Project

We have received a number of letters of appreciation for the project, and the following is a nice representation:

* 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.

Carla Graebner
Percilla Groves
for the BCLA Information Policy Committee