JESS – a virtual assistant for navigating BC Small Claims Court matters

Are you disputing a car repair bill, pleading with a carpenter to complete your unfinished kitchen reno, or seeking damages for personal injury for $25,000 or under, all by yourself?  Then JESS may be the resource for you.  Launched on January 10, 2013, JESS is a pilot project developed by Justice Education Society and is now available on SmallClaimsBC.ca website.

It is a virtual assistant that offers guidance on what steps you may take in order to move your case forward.  JESS delivers expertise by combining interactive video scripts, website text and multiple choice questions that offer a much needed roadmap for people going to small claims court.

This latest project is based on a legacy of resources – legal publication, websites and instructional videos – created by Justice Education Society, an organization that strives to improve access to British Columbia’s justice system.

If you would like to inquire further about this program visit the Society’s website at www.justiceeducation.ca or explore some of Clicklaw’s own resources dealing with small claims matters.

Legal Information in Many Languages

Clicklaw contributors produce hundreds of legal information resources, and many of these resources are available in a variety of languages. The Clicklaw team has added some features to our site to make it easier to find them.

We’ve added quick links to information in Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Punjabi, Korean and Farsi in the header of every page on Clicklaw. In addition to these languages, when you select “more”, you get a list of the languages that are available through Clicklaw.

You can also browse through our resources by language. For example, if you click “employment” from our homepage, you can see what resources are available in other languages by selecting “language” on the left. Simply choose your language, and you’ll get search results that meet your needs. When you’re searching for service on the HelpMap, you can also narrow down your search results by language.

When you click on “more details” for a Clicklaw resource or HelpMap service, you’ll see what languages that resource or service is available in.

BC is a province rich in diversity and the Clicklaw team is proud to be supporting improved access to legal information for all British Columbians. Some of this year’s Clicklaw updates have been made possible thanks to funding from the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

Find legal help in your community on Clicklaw

help map

Clicklaw’s HelpMap provides information about legal services in your community. You can search by community, area of law, language, and type of service. There are over 800 locations in BC where you can get legal services. 

The HelpMap is also an excellent tool for service providers who provide referrals to people with legal issues.

help map search result

For more information on how HelpMap works, have a look at our YouTube video.

If you have suggestions for services to add to our HelpMap, please contact us.

Webinars on Using Clicklaw

The Clicklaw team conducted our first set of webinars over the last two weeks, training public librarians on how to use Clicklaw to find answers to legal questions. The feedback was fantastic:

“What an excellent resource! From now on, I will always start here when faced with legal reference questions. It’s wonderful to have so much valuable information collected in one portal with a very intuitive search interface.”

“In a lot of ways, Clicklaw makes my job easier, because the site is so user friendly, and informative. This training confirmed that there really is more than one good way to find the answer!”

“I thought the training was great. The site is very intuitive and it was nice to learn about some of the extras that I may not have investigated.”

From Clicklaw webinar

The webinars were an hour long, and involved a short demo of the site, followed by an opportunity for participants to do realistic practice questions on their own computers and then share their findings with other participants. As a result of the training, participants reported a 40 per cent increase in their confidence in using the Internet to find legal information or assistance for themselves or their clients.

One cool element: half of the participants tuned into the webinar from home:

If you’re interested in taking Clicklaw training via a webinar in future, please drop us a line at editor@clicklaw.bc.ca!

Video: Clicklaw HelpMap Top 5 List

Want to get a flavour in less than 5 minutes for what the Clicklaw HelpMap offers? In this video posted on YouTube, we show you the top 5 things you can do on the HelpMap:

  1. You can search by community in British Columbia for someone who can help with legal problems.
  2. You can locate a result on the map (where we’re integrating with Google Maps).
  3. You can narrow your results down in a few different ways — by topic (e.g., show me only “Family law” services) or by type of help (e.g., show me only services that provide “legal advocacy, advice or representation”).
  4. You can start your search by clicking on a topic and narrow down from there.
  5. You can find services that are provided in languages other than English (by starting with a community in BC and narrowing down by language).

We’d love to hear your feedback on the Clicklaw HelpMap. Please consider taking our 3-minute Clicklaw feedback survey online, posting a comment here on this blog, or contacting us at editor@clicklaw.bc.ca.