Moving in together, “Common-Law Relationships” and Unmarried Spouses in BC

Are we or aren’t we?

0_censusThis past year, your household would have received some form of the 2016 Census, which included a question that could stump a few people: Are you married? Do you have a common-law partner?

The Statistics Canada website defines Common-Law Partner as “persons who are members of an opposite-sex or same-sex couple living common law. A couple living common law is one in which the members are not legally married to each other but live together as a couple in the same dwelling.”

“Common-law partner” is the term used federally (Canada-wide) to mean a marriage-like relationship that has lasted for two years, just one year or even less, depending on what law applies.

In BC, our provincial family laws use the term “spouse” or “unmarried spouse” to refer to an unmarried couple who has lived together in a “marriage-like relationship” for at least two years, or less than that if they have had a child together. There is no such thing as a “common-law spouse” or “common-law marriage” in BC. However, there are still certain consequences of being an “unmarried spouse”. See Unmarried Spouses.

What should I know about before moving in with my partner?

keys-525732_1280In BC, If you have lived together in a “marriage-type relationship” for two years (with some variability), these are some important consequences to know about:

  • the debts either of you incurred while you were living together are considered “family debt”, which means that when you break up, the responsibility for this debt may be divided equally between you. Read more about this at: How to divide property and debts, Property & Debt in Family Matters;
  • if you buy property together during your relationship, regardless of who paid the downpayment, you could equally share it and equally share the increase in value of property you had before the relationship, which can even apply to the increase in value of “excluded property” like gifts and inheritances;
  • the courts will treat you like a married couple when determining spousal support. See Spousal Support;
  • you may be considered spouses for the purpose of social assistance and other benefits* (which may negatively or positively affect your eligibility). See Thinking of moving in together?;
  • it may affect your partner’s right to “contest” your will. See What Happens When Your Spouse Dies.

I’m already living with my partner. Is there anything I could do?

I want legal advice and/or more information on my situation. Where can I get it?

If you are low income and have questions on family law matters, the Family LawLine can provide more information and help.

To find legal advice and other help on family law issues, see Helpmap results for “family law” and “legal advice” here. It includes services like the CBABC’s Lawyer Referral Service, which connects you with a lawyer who will offer an initial 30-minute consultation for a nominal fee of $25 plus taxes.

This post didn’t cover everything. Read more about this topic:

For example, we weren’t able to discuss situations where an unmarried couple have had a child together. That would have made this post very long indeed! Read the resources linked throughout this post for more information. Another great resource to consult is: Living Together or Living Apart: Common-Law Relationships, Marriage, Separation, and Divorce

Past posts on Family Law from the Clicklaw Blog:


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Civil Resolution Tribunal accepting early strata intake July 13th

Need a refresher on Online Dispute Resolution? Check out the introduction to our ODR series here.civil-tribunal-act-logo-large

The following entry is a cross-post from the Civil Resolution Tribunal website.

By Shannon Salter
Chair of the CRT


We’re happy to let you know that on July 13, 2016, we’ll begin accepting strata claims for early intake.

By starting early intake, we’ll have a chance to test our process to make sure it works as well as possible for the public once we’re fully open. It will also allow us to provide a little help for people with ongoing strata disputes who are eager to take their first steps toward a resolution.

We’ve taken a lot of steps to prepare for early strata intake this summer. The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act strata provisions and the related amendments will be in force on July 13, 2016. The CRT’s fees have been set and the CRT’s rules are being finalized.

On July 13, 2016, we’ll have detailed information on the website telling you how to start the CRT process. Basically, it’ll work like this:

  1. You’ll start with the Solution Explorer, to learn more about your dispute and how to resolve it without needing to start a CRT claim.
  2. If you can’t resolve your dispute using the support from the Solution Explorer, you’ll have the option to start a CRT claim from the Dispute Summary screen in the Solution Explorer.
  3. You’ll use our Application Checklist to make sure you have all the information you need to complete your online Application for Dispute Resolution.
  4. You’ll complete and file your Application for Dispute Resolution online. Paper forms are not available for the early intake process, but you are welcome to have a trusted friend or family member help you fill in the online form.
  5. You’ll have to pay the application fee, or apply for a fee waiver if you have low income. You can pay the fee or apply for a fee waiver online as part of the application process. Here’s more about the CRT’s fees.
  6. We’ll provide you with a Dispute Notice to give the other parties in the dispute. We’ll let you know how to do that, as well as next steps.

Please remember that the CRT is not completely implemented yet. We are not yet fully staffed, and the technology is not completely built. We’ll use this time to test and improve our online intake processes for strata. Although we’ll start accepting applications for strata dispute resolution, we won’t be ready to resolve disputes right away. That will happen once we’re fully open to accept and resolve strata disputes in the fall.

You may have to wait several months for your dispute to move to the facilitation phase. We’re still getting ready for the large number of strata disputes we expect to see once we’re fully open. We’ll need everyone’s patience as we learn and improve on the job.

Here’s a reminder of some of the benefits and limitations of using the CRT’s early intake process for your strata dispute.

Benefits of CRT early intake for your strata dispute:

  • It can pause the limitation period. Many strata claims have a 2 year limitation period. The limitation period acts like a countdown clock, and when this time runs out, you may not be able to bring a claim to the CRT or a court. But, if the CRT accepts your dispute into its early intake process, the limitation period will be ‘paused’ and stop counting down. You can find out more about limitation periods here.
  • You’ll be ready for CRT resolution. As soon as we’re ready to start moving strata disputes into our facilitation phase, you’ll be ready for this next step toward a resolution. Just making your early intake application might help to clarify the issues and encourage an early resolution by agreement among the parties in your dispute.
  • You’ll help shape the CRT process. Our early intake will help us test our online intake processes to make sure they meet your needs. You might get a chance to show us how you think things should work, which will make the CRT better for everyone.

IMPORTANT: Limits of filing a CRT claim during early intake

  • The CRT’s full dispute resolution services won’t be available during early intake. You will be able to start your claim, but this is mainly a testing phase for intake. Many disputes will need to wait until the rest of our processes are ready before they are resolved. We expect this to happen in the fall. Our timeline target of 60 to 90 days won’t apply to the early intake testing.
  • Your ability to go to court may be limited. If you apply for strata dispute resolution with the CRT, you and the other parties will be required to continue in the CRT, rather than going to court instead. If you start, and then decide you would rather go to court instead of waiting for the CRT to fully open, you’ll need to ask the CRT’s permission. If this happens, the CRT would probably agree to it during early intake.
  • Not everything will be online. You’ll be able to use the Solution Explorer for strata disputes and you’ll be able to apply to the CRT using our online system. However, other dispute resolution processes will be done through email, video, telephone or mail, while we continue to build the CRT technology.

Please watch for more information about the CRT’s process in the coming days. Please also let us know if you have any questions or comments at info@crtbc.ca.


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Introduction to TRU Community Legal Clinic

By Eli Zbar
CLC Student Clinician, Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law J.D. Candidate

Founded in January 2016, the Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law Community Legal Clinic (CLC) is the first legal clinic of its kind in the Interior of British Columbia. The CLC is operated by a passionate team of law students, faculty and lawyers providing legal assistance and information to those otherwise unable to afford it. The office is an open, accessible and inclusive environment committed to improving access to justice.

WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU

The CLC practice areas include primarily of:

  • residential tenancy;
  • estate law; and
  • consumer protection.

Due to budgetary and insurance constraints, we have a limited scope of who we can represent and in what areas. For most of my clients, I am only able to provide one-time, summary advice. This summary advice attempts to illustrate a path to resolving their issues using freely available resources such as Clicklaw and the Legal Services Society.

WHO WE ARE

The CLC is the foundation upon which TRU Law is building a rigorous, intensive, student clinician program. I have the distinct honour of filling the first ever full-time CLC summer position. My journey to this point began in September 2015, when I enrolled in “Community Lawyering.” This class, taught by one of the CLC supervising professors, is a prerequisite to becoming a CLC clinician. Once a student successfully completes Community Lawyering, they are eligible to apply to the both the credited and paid clinician positions.

CLC students are exposed to a breadth of legal issues in an unconventional workplace. Our office is located within the pre-existing Kamloops Centre for Services and Information (CSI). The CSI is a well-established hub of community support and activity. People are accustomed to relying on the CSI; it is a one-stop-shop offering everything from our legal counsel, to accounting, to education and bingo. Sharing space with the CSI provides both the exposure and environment necessary to ensure a steady flow of new clients.

Eli Zbar
Eli Zbar

HOW I CAN HELP

Clinical work offers an experience unique from many other law student opportunities. I manage files from intake to closing, with all the steps in between. Since the CLC’s mandate is to serve low-income individuals, I do not facilitate private transactions or business operations.

CLC clients seek our help in situations where immense power imbalances exist, for instance, between landlord and tenant. My clients’ legal issues are intertwined, if not symptomatic of, other challenges they face. Working with this demographic demands a keen understanding of the nexus between socioeconomic, legal, health and other issues. That is why my primary goal is to parse clients’ legal issues and explain where they stand currently in the procedure, and in terms of rights, risks and obligations.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you would like to know more about the CLC, please do not hesitate to contact me at zbar.eli@gmail.com, call the CLC at 778-471-8490, or come visit us at Unit 9A-1800 Tranquille Road, Kamloops, BC, V2B 3L9.


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LSLAP 2016 Summer Program Update

By Law Students’ Legal Advice Program

SUMMER OPERATIONS

We are able to run 13 clinics this summer with a wide range of locations, days and times. You may call for appointments at (604) 822-5791.

LSLAP
Free legal advice for low-income people in Metro Vancouver, run by UBC Allard Law students

Please call (604) 684-1628 to set up a Chinese language appointment at our Chinatown clinic. We have clinics operating Monday – Friday with times starting as early as 9am and ending as late as 9pm. Our full list of locations can be found on the HelpMap here and is as follows:

  • North Shore;
  • Burnaby;
  • Robson Square;
  • Coquitlam;
  • New Westminster;
  • UBC;
  • Trout Lake;
  • Surrey Gateway;
  • South Van;
  • Chinatown;
  • Richmond;
  • Carnegie; and
  • Surrey PICS.

We are fortunate enough to have earned the funding for two clinicians at Surrey PICS, UBC and Coquitlam. Overall we were able to hire 18 full time clinicians this summer. Every clinic site also has between 2 and 4 volunteer clinicians assigned to that location. We are confident that this summer will be busy but manageable due to funding, teamwork and the number of eager new summer clinicians.

MEET THE TEAM

The Student executive for 2016:

Executive Director – Emma Wilson

Operations Director – Isaac Won

Publications Director – Alexei Paish

Director at Large – Jon Del Castillo

Public Relations Director – Alisyn Burns

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Rise Women’s Legal Centre: Changing the Legal Landscape

Note: To keep up to date on the latest news from Rise Women’s Legal Centre, please follow their website here or their Clicklaw HelpMap service listing. Services are subject to change.

By Ana Mihajlovic
Student Advisor, Rise Women’s Legal Centre

After over a decade of research, work, and planning, Rise Women’s Legal Centre has officially opened its doors to the public. Rise welcomes all self-identified women who are experiencing family law issues, and who: cannot afford legal counsel, may not qualify for legal aid, or whose legal aid hours have run out. Rise is Vancouver-based but accepts calls from clients throughout BC*.

WHAT WE DO

WLC Staff (2)
Standing (l to r): Candice Minnaar, Floriana Costea, Ana Mihajlovic, Miryam Burns Seated: Vandana Sood, Kim Hawkins, Raji Mangat

As a legal centre, Rise offers a multitude of services for women facing family law issues.

At Rise, you can:

  • meet with a student advisor;
  • receive summary advice;
  • receive unbundled services such as drafting of documents for your legal proceeding;
  • receive full legal representation in Provincial Court;
  • get connected to other useful resources in the community; and
  • use our library and computer at our Self-Help Centre to do your own research in a safe space.

WHAT WE DON’T DO

As law students, student advisors cannot appear in Supreme Court, which means we cannot represent you in proceedings at the Supreme Court level. However, we may still be able to help with other steps along the way, such as preparing court forms and documents, and preparation for hearings.

Although our services are restricted to the legal realm, if you seek support in other areas such as counselling, job search, housing, to name a few, we can connect you with right resources.

Presently, Rise will only handle family law issues but will be expanding its services in the future to include other areas of the law.

ABOUT RISE

Rise has been formed through a partnership between West Coast LEAF and the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC, and with the support of private donors.  Our clinic is staffed by: a dedicated group of senior year law students from Allard Law, our knowledgeable and experienced supervising lawyers, and our wonderful office manager. We recognize the serious gap in funding for family law disputes, which has resulted in the growing population of self-represented litigants in these cases. Self-representation can sometimes lead to very negative outcomes and the overall experience can be scary, isolating, and generally unpleasant. We are here to help.

Student advisors are in their final year of law school, and working at Rise adds an experiential learning component to these students’ academic careers. Aside from completing the Family Law course at the law school, all students have also undergone a two-week orientation and training program led by experienced family law lawyers, advocates, and professionals within the legal community. Additionally, students will be researching and preparing a seminar paper on a chosen topic in relation to the work done at the Centre. As one of the student advisors here at Rise, I have enjoyed my time so far and am looking forward to the busy summer ahead!

*Rise is able to conduct some interviews over the phone for remote clients to give summary advice. However, for full services (going to trial in Provincial Court as counsel), we may be restricted to courts in the Lower Mainland. For example, in one instance where a client from Kelowna needed help with trial preparation (for her Kelowna court appearance) my colleague was able to provide her unbundled services by giving her advice over the phone and email, but leaving court appearances to the client herself.

CONTACT US

To connect with us, please give us a call at 604-451-7447 or email us at info@womenslegalcentre.ca.

As the inaugural class at Rise, we are honoured to be the first to partake in this amazing project. We look forward to using our legal skills and knowledge to do work that is meaningful and purpose-driven, and we are excited to welcome you to our Centre!


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MyLawBC helps you with common legal problems

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MyLawBC features numerous “pathways” for your legal problems.

By Nate Prosser
Online Outreach Coordinator 

There’s no doubt that the law is complicated. What further complicates matters is when laws vary by jurisdiction (from province to province, and from country to country). This is why sites like Clicklaw are needed to help people find legal information. One of the biggest challenges faced by people who teach the public about the law is making legal information easy to understand and easy to act on.

The Legal Services Society’s new site, MyLawBC, takes a new tack to this challenge. The site is built around the idea of guided pathways — interactive pathways that ask you questions about your situation and then use your answers to create a plan that empowers you to solve your legal problem.

What can MyLawBC help me with?

For now, MyLawBC covers four main areas of law: divorce and separation, foreclosure, wills & estates, and personal planning.

If you’re going through a separation, MyLawBC can help. Its pathways guide you to the best way to work through separation with your spouse, to get a court order, or to respond to a court document. You may also use the Dialogue Tool which simplifies the process of creating a separation agreement by helping you and your spouse identify what’s important to you, giving you the platform and tools to work together to create a fair and lasting separation agreement.

For those facing foreclosure, there’s the missed mortgage payments pathway. As you progress through the pathway, MyLawBC gives you practical information on how to avoid foreclosure and where to find financial and legal help. Upon completion of the pathway, you are provided with an “action plan” which tells you what your options are to keep your house and what steps you need to take. Your plan also includes resources like tips, checklists, and sample letters.

The make a will pathway will help you learn about the decisions you need to make when writing a will. Depending on your situation, MyLawBC may provide you with a simple form to fill out to create your will. Even if MyLawBC cannot provide a will to fit your needs, the pathway will give you information about what to put in your will and how to get help to complete one.

Planning for your future where you may need help making decisions is also important. The plan for the future pathway explains the available legal documents and which one(s) are for you.


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Mediation Advisors Now Available to Assist People with Civil Disputes

By Mediate BC

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Are you having a conflict with someone that you need help to resolve?

Unsure what to do or where to go for help?

The Mediation Advisor service can help you figure out what your options are and link you with resources to put your plan in place. Best of all, this service is available free of charge thanks to funding provided by the Law Foundation of British Columbia and Family Justice Services Division.

What is a “civil dispute”?

A civil dispute is a disagreement between any two parties outside of separation and divorce, personal injury, child protection or criminal matters. Some examples of civil disputes are workplace conflicts, landlord tenant issues, human rights, wills and estates.

If you are unsure whether your situation applies, call the Mediate BC office and we will help you identify if your matter is a civil dispute.

How can they help?AboutImgPlaceholder

 The Mediation Advisor can:

  • help you sort out the facts of your case,
  • identify the various options to resolve your dispute, and
  • link you to resources to put your plan into action.

The Mediation Advisor can call the person you are in conflict with and see if it is possible to resolve the issue over the phone. If further conversation about the matter is required, the Mediation Advisor can connect you with a pro bono or low cost mediator to assist with more in-depth exploration of solutions.

Other possible resources they can connect you with are lawyers to obtain legal advice, or community resources that specialize in the issue you need assistance addressing.

What if I live outside of the Lower Mainland?CatchAll

The great news is that the Mediation Advisor is often able to assist people over the phone! You do not need to live in Vancouver or Victoria to access this service.

You can phone from the comfort of your home and the Mediation Advisor can assist you. This service is meant to support all residents of BC.

Where to Find Us

The Mediation Advisors are located at the Vancouver and Victoria Justice Access CentresPhone to book an appointment at the numbers below:

Victoria Mediation Advisor
225 – 850 Burdett Ave
Victoria, BC V8W 1B4
Phone: 250-356-6128
Vancouver Mediation Advisor
290 – 800 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2C5
Phone: 604-660-8406

 

 

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Is that email a scam?

button-ePhishing is a general term for scam e-mails, text messages and websites designed to look like they come from well-known and trusted organizations in an attempt to collect sensitive information.

How to sniff out a phishing scam:

  • Phishing content is intended to trigger a quick reaction. It can use upsetting or exciting information, or demand an urgent response.
  • Typically, phishing messages will ask you to “update”, “validate”, or “confirm” your account information to avoid dire consequences, online or over the phone.
  • Often, the message or website includes official-looking logos and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate websites. Government, financial institutions and online payment services are common targets.

Preventive measures you should take:

  1. Watch out for e-mail or text messages with urgent requests for personal or financial information. Financial institutions normally don’t use e-mail to confirm an existing client’s information.
  2. Contact the organization at a telephone number from a credible source. Official website, back of your credit card, phone book or a bill.
  3. Never e-mail personal or financial information.
  4. Avoid embedded links in an e-mail claiming to bring you to a secure site.
  5. Look at a website’s address line in your browser.
  6. Regularly update your computer protection with anti-virus software, spyware filters, e-mail filters and firewall programs. Check out AV-Comparatives for reviews and reports of real-time protection antivirus programs.
  7. Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.

Fraud Prevention Month Events

1004People’s Law School is hosting an event on the Top 10 Scams of 2015 in Vancouver: March 29, from 12:00 – 1:00pm, at People’s Law School, 900 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC.

1105Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is hosting a Twitter Chat on March 31 at 10am PST.

Follow CAFC @canantifraud to discuss their various resources on scams targeting businesses, telephone scams, scams targeting seniors/students, and vacation scams.

For more information:

Competition Bureau: Read more about Fraud Prevention Month.

BC RCMP: Information on email phishing, online fraud, fraudulent calls, police impersonators, rental scams, pin pad tampering, ATM skimming.

When I’m 64 – Scams (Video) by People’s Law School The When I’m 64 video series provides seniors with information about services, benefits, and resources available to them.

Fraud PreventionBanks work hard to prevent their customers from becoming victims of any kind of financial fraud. The Canadian Bankers’ Association website offers tips on credit card fraud, debit card fraud, identity theft, phishing, vishing, and real estate fraud.

Government of CanadaThe national list of Top 10 Scams was unveiled at news conferences in Vancouver and Montreal for Fraud Prevention Month. It was compiled by Better Business Bureaus in nine provinces with input from the Quebec-based Option Consommateurs as well as the Competition Bureau.

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Pink Shirt Day – Resources & Events on Bullying

Today is Pink Shirt Day across Canada, a day that raises awareness about bullying. Pink Shirt Day has its beginnings in Nova Scotia, started by two high school students in support of their classmate who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

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In honour of Pink Shirt Day, we are listing key resources and events that educate people on different issues related to bullying:

Bookable Events

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TrendShift: a public dialogue/workshop on cyber misogyny, free and open to the public

by West Coast LEAF

When? Thursday, February 25, 5:30-7pm at TRU, Kamloops, BC.

What? This free interactive workshop will open up a dialogue about how inequality, discrimination and violence play out on the internet and what Canadian law has to say about our rights and responsibilities online.

TrendShift workshops are available for booking in Kamloops, Nanaimo, and Greater Vancouver. These workshops are for students in Grades 8-12 and was developed as part of our Cyber Misogyny Project. Its goals are to open up spaces for dialogue with youth about their rights and responsibilities online, to think about what violence and discrimination look like in online spaces, and to clear up myths about the laws that apply to their lives online. More info on the length of the workshops, and who you can contact for more information available online here.

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The Justice Theatre Troupe

Justice Theatre

by People’s Law School

The Justice Theatre troupe consists of seven professional actors who stage scripted hour-long dramatizations of criminal trials on topics affecting students in elementary and secondary schools throughout the school year in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. Justice Theatre is delivered throughout the province of BC.

The one-hour performances address current topics affecting young people and communities-at-large. Frequently requested topics include: Bullying and the Internet, and Bullying and Violence. Schools and community groups should contact Rob McAninch, Justice Theatre director, to find out when the troupe will be in their community or to book a special event.

Online Resources

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What can you do about cyberbullying?

This common question gives you good starting points to learn more about cyberbullying and what you can do to stop it. It includes CBA BC’s resource, Stalking, Criminal Harassment and Cyberbullying, and West Coast LEAF’s resource, “Is that legal?” – a CyberMisogyny Legal Guide, which explains Canadian law about issues of online harassment, exploitation and abuse.

 

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Bullying and Harassment: a workplace problem
by People’s Law School

This video resource describes bullying and harassment in the workplace and what can you do if you experience it.

 

BC Human Rights Clinic
Bullying Law in BC
by BC Human Rights Clinic (CLAS)

This resource reviews protection from bullying at work, personal harassment, and includes a more in-depth resource on Bullying and Harassment in Human Rights Law, which gives tips on what managers can do to maintain a harassment-free workplace environment.

Stay informed:

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Introducing the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic

By Randy Robinson
Peter A. Allard School of Law J.D. CandidateRandy (2)

The Indigenous Community Legal Clinic (“Clinic”) in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (“DTES”) is both a legal clinic and a learning space for law students. The Clinic’s hummingbird logo is a symbol of the work that is undertaken by clinicians at the Clinic. Many Indigenous Peoples view the hummingbird as a communicator of knowledge enabling it to act as an advocate for all creation.

Why join the Clinic?

I am Algonquin of the Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec. I am in the last semester of the Peter A. Allard School of Law’s Juris Doctorate program.  In my early years as a high school student growing up in the DTES, I observed many injustices stemming from the disheartened history of our Indigenous community.

My desire for change towards these inequities led me to enroll. The Clinic enables law students such as myself to experience a strong foundation for law practice through an experiential and legal knowledge curriculum. Clinicians undergo three weeks of rigorous orientation where students meet lawyers and judges from diverse legal fields and practice areas.

Lessons for Law Student Clinicians

IMG_0876During my clinical term I developed skills pertaining to: file management, communication with other parties, working with a supervising lawyer, in depth legal research and writing, trial preparation, criminal and civil litigation, networking with a close knit cohort of clinicians, and creative solution orientated thinking.

An example of the practical learning experiences and legal knowledge that I attained at the Clinic was my work with the Pemberton Circuit Court (“PCC”). Physically attending the PCC after speaking with unrepresented clientele on the court list was crucial to bringing to light the desperate need for legal services in this remote community. Since then the PCC has joined the Clinic’s curriculum. This results in both a greater access to justice for Indigenous Peoples living in remote communities and a comprehensive extension of the Clinic’s services.

As a legal clinician I recognize the value of these practical legal skills and learning experiences. I also recognize that these skills pertain to the possibilities for changing the inequities that I observed in the DTES. However, on a grander scale I also recognize the value in the outstanding experiential knowledge the Clinic curriculum brought to my legal education. During my time at the Clinic this fusion led to valuable insights for understanding and negotiating my present legal education and future legal competencies.  One insight that stands out in my mind is when I met provincial court Judge Gregory Rideout at the Clinic. Judge Rideout aptly described the importance of the role of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) in the space of the DTES.

I will approach my future legal studies and practice with the following motto in mind: “Like the hummingbird, first and foremost we must be communicators”.

What does the Clinic offer?

The Clinic exists for two purposes:

  • first, to provide free legal services to the Indigenous community in the DTES, and
  • second, to provide legal education to law students in the Allard School of Law.

We provide advice, assistance and representation to clients who self-identify as Indigenous and who cannot afford a lawyer, on topics ranging from: criminal matters, family law matters, human rights complaints, to Indian Status applications and hearings before certain administrative tribunals.

Please see the Clinic’s listing on the HelpMap for more details and for information on how to contact us.

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