2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: May-June

In our 2015 year-end update, we promised to provide bimonthly updates to new resources and services added to Clicklaw in those two months. Here is a sample from the hundreds of changes in May and June:

Jan-Feb | Mar-Apr | May-Jun | Jul-Aug | Sep-Oct | Nov-Dec


New Resources on Adult Guardianship & Enduring Powers of Attorney
by Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry

 

Sponsorship Breakdown
by Legal Services Society

New French Edition added. Sponsorship Breakdown is for permanent residents and conditional permanent residents who need help when the person sponsoring them in Canada is no longer supporting them, and they are unable to support themselves. Explains what happens when a sponsorship breaks down, and how to apply for welfare.

 

Updated Dial-a-Law Scripts
by Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch

 

A Guide for Manufactured Home Park Landlords and Tenants in British Columbia
by BC Residential Tenancy Branch

This booklet provides a summary of the key features of the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act and how they affect landlords and tenants in manufactured home parks in British Columbia.

 

Roads to Safety: Legal Information for Older Women in BC
by West Coast LEAF

Roads to Safety is a legal handbook for older women in BC that covers legal issues that older women may face when they have experienced violence. It explains rights and options, using stories to illustrate the legal information.

 

Rise Women’s Legal Centre

Formed through a partnership between West Coast LEAF and UBC’s Allard School of Law to provides free and low-cost legal services to women. Services are provided by upper year law students, under the supervision of staff lawyers. Rise offers a range of services, from information and summary advice, unbundled legal services, and in some instances representation in court. Currently accepting appointments for Tuesdays and Wednesdays from May 24 to July 20; fall dates TBA.

 

Common Questions: In response to questions we have been asked repeatedly via email, reference or by webinar attendees, we added three new FAQs this June:

 


An Evaluation of the Clicklaw Wikibook JP Boyd on Family Law: Final Report
by Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family

This study assesses outputs & outcomes of the JP Boyd on Family Law wikibook by analyzing data from Google Analytics and data collected from a pop-up survey of users, a follow-up survey administered 1 week later and a follow-up survey 6 months later, to gauge the efficacy of wikibooks as a collaborative PLE model.


Disclosing Your Disability: A Legal Guide for People with Disabilities in BC
by Disability Alliance BC

The guide discusses the legal rights and responsibilities around disclosure for people with disabilities in the context of employment.

 


HIGH STAKES: The impacts of child care on the human rights of women and children
by West Coast LEAF

This report is grounded in diverse women’s real-life stories about how the inadequacy of the child care system has impacted them and their children—undermining their safety, well-being, & human rights. The report analyzes the legal implications of these harms and calls for urgent government action.

 


Responding to Child Welfare Concerns: Your Role in Knowing When and What to Report
by BC Ministry of Children and Family Development

Updated for 2016, this booklet explains when to report child abuse and neglect, and what to report. Includes what child abuse and neglect is, warning signs, what to do if a child tells you about the abuse, and what to do if you suspect abuse. It also explains what to expect when you make the report and what happens next.

 

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Clicklaw Refresher (Webinar Recording)
by Clicklaw + LawMatters (Courthouse Libraries BC)

See the recording of our live 1-hr webinar for front-line community workers, advocates and public librarians. Learn how to search online for reliable legal information & help specific to BC, with an overview of how to use Clicklaw, the HelpMap, and the Clicklaw Wikibooks.

 

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Women and Family Law: Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities (Webinar Recording)
by West Coast LEAF and Courthouse Libraries BC

See the recording of this live 1.5-hr webinar on recent changes to family law in BC and their impacts on the parenting experiences of women with abusive or harassing exes. Speaker Zara Suleman considers some common legal challenges including parenting assessment reports, denial of parenting time, relocating with a child, and litigation harassment. Zara offers lawyers and frontline service providers who assist women fleeing abuse effective strategies to cope with and address these issues.

 


Notice – BC Government URLs

You may have noticed that some of the links to websites hosted by the BC Government may be broken as they restructure. We are currently working with BC Gov website staff to keep links updated. For example, see the updated link to Family Justice in BC.

Stay informed:

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Family LawLINE: Helping BC families with their legal problems

masterlogo-www.lss.bc.ca_blackThe Legal Services Society’s Family LawLINE is a telephone service that assists people with their family law matters, including many who are located in rural and remote areas. Lawyers work from their own offices, using the phone to provide free legal coaching and “next step” legal advice to eligible people across British Columbia. Clients can schedule a number of follow-up phone appointments and share documents by fax or email.

Clients come to the Family LawLINE with a wide variety of family legal issues. There is no “typical client”.  One client may have recently separated and is seeking initial legal advice and assistance to move forward.  Another may be involved in a court process or is seeking assistance to change existing agreements or orders. By using LawLINE, a client has the opportunity to work with a family lawyer to identify goals and desired outcomes, and to develop a step-by-step plan of action.

WHAT SPECIFIC SERVICES DOES FAMILY LawLINE PROVIDE?

Family LawLINE helps people who are representing themselves through all stages of court and collaborative process by providing:00_FamilyLawLine

  • Interpreters, if clients need services in languages other than English
  • Information and advice on court processes, both Provincial and Supreme Court
  • Information and advice on options for resolving legal issues out of court
  • Referrals to other services, including online resources and other public agencies
  • Assistance with preparing documents for court
  • Coaching to help clients:
    • understand the law relevant to their particular case,
    • make more effective court appearances,
    • present evidence properly,
    • prepare for negotiation and settlement,
    • use Public Legal Education and Information tools, and
    • identify their goals and how to achieve them effectively.

HOW DOES SOMEONE GET THESE SERVICES?

To qualify for the Family LawLINE service, a person must:

  • Qualify financially;
  • have an eligible family law issue; and
  • not have a lawyer already working for them.

To find out about eligibility and access the Family LawLINE:

Call the Legal Services Society’s provincial call centre at 604-408-2172 (for Greater Vancouver) or toll free at 1-866-577-2525, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and Wednesdays until 2:30.

STAY INFORMED WITH LSS:

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Free Webinar Training for Advocates – Women and Law – Parenting Time and Parenting Responsibilities

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Understanding the recent changes to family law in BC and their impacts on parenting experiences is a critical role for advocates working with women fleeing abuse.

That’s why Courthouse Libraries BC and West Coast LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) are offering a free 1.5 hour webinar aimed at frontline service providers who assist women survivors of violence–including transition house workers, settlement workers, sexual assault support workers, counsellors, and others. Lawyers who work primarily in areas other than family law may also find the webinar useful, as may family law practitioners seeking a feminist anti-violence lens on legal issues they encounter regularly. The webinar will touch on common legal challenges such as parenting assessment reports, denial of parenting time, relocating with a child, and the overlap between family law and child protection matters, as well as strategies to cope with these issues. The discussion will be grounded in an analysis of diverse women’s experiences navigating the family law system after leaving an abusive relationship.

West Coast LEAF’s education manager Alana Prochuk will co-present the webinar with expert guest Zara Suleman. Zara practices family law and fertility law; she is also a certified family law mediator and collaborative law practitioner.  Zara has worked as an independent legal researcher and consultant and was also the Director of the Family Law Project for West Coast LEAF.  She has been actively involved in presenting, writing and editing public legal education materials on family law issues. Prior to law school Zara was a frontline community advocate for over a decade.

We invite you to join our free 1.5 hour webinar on Monday June 27th from noon to 1:30 pm Pacific Time.

Space in the webinar is limited to 100 people. Please register here today!

This webinar is funded generously by the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

Courthouse Libraries is a non-profit organization in BC helping lawyers and the community find and use legal information. You can contact them at 1-800-665-2570 or email the training coordinator at training@courthouselibrary.ca.

West Coast LEAF is BC’s first and only organization dedicated to advancing women’s equality through the law. West Coast LEAF has been working since 1985 to end discrimination against women through equality rights litigation, law reform, and public legal education. To learn more about West Coast LEAF’s public legal education programming, including this webinar, please contact Alana Prochuk at 604-684-8772 extension 117 or education@westcoastleaf.org.

Stay informed:

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2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: March-April

In our 2015 year-end update, we promised to provide bimonthly updates to new resources and services added to Clicklaw in those two months. Here is a selection from the hundreds of changes in March and April:

Jan-Feb | Mar-Apr | May-Jun | Jul-Aug | Sep-Oct | Nov-Dec


Battered Women’s Support Services
by Battered Women’s Support Services

See BWSS’ expanded legal advocacy program which includes full representation (family and immigration matters), and other help on family law issues: workshops, a family law clinic and a court forms preparation clinic.

 

Islamophobia Hotline
by SABA BC, Access Pro Bono, National Council of Canadian Muslims, BCPIAC, FACL BC, CLAS, BCCLA, CABL, CBA BC

Free confidential legal advice if you feel that you have been discriminated, harassed, or faced violence because you are Muslim or were perceived to be Muslim: 604-343-3828

 

Resources on police record checks
by Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Want to know what a police record is? How to try to deal with a non-conviction record? What privacy and human rights laws apply, or best practices for employers? Check out this resource from the CCLA.

 

LSLAP Manuals
by LSLAP Law Students’ Legal Advice Program

See the latest links for LSLAP’s updated legal advice manuals.

 

Coping with Separation Handbook
by Legal Services Society

For spouses (married or living in a marriage-like relationship) dealing with the emotional aspects of separating. Describes ways to cope and how to help your children cope. Includes support services for spouses, parents, and children, and where to find legal help.

 

The Social Security Tribunal
by Disability Alliance BC and CLAS

In 2013, the process to appeal the denial of Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D) changed when a new system, the Social Security Tribunal (SST), replaced the Review Tribunal. This guide will help people and advocates who are appealing denial of CPP-D to the SST. The guide has been updated in 2016.

 

Atira Legal Services
by Atira Women’s Resources Society

See updated information for Atira’s Legal Advocacy Program for Women in the DTES, Atira’s Weekly Summary Legal Advice Clinic, and Atira Women’s Court Form Preparation Clinic.

 

The McKenzie Friend: Choosing and Presenting a Courtroom Companion
by NSLRP

As a self-represented litigant, you may bring someone to sit with you at the front of a courtroom when you are appearing before a judge or master. You must ask the judge for permission for this person – often a friend or family member – to sit beside you and help you through the process.

 

Executor Guide for BC
by Heritage Law

This publicly available wikibook will help you understand the steps involved in being an executor and probating a will.

 

Leaving Abuse
by Legal Services Society

This graphic novel tells the story of Maya, who is leaving her abusive partner but doesn’t know where to get help. Through illustrations and clear basic legal information, Leaving Abuse shows how she finds the support and legal aid she and her children need to stay safe and start a new life.

 

TRU Community Legal Clinic (CLC)
by Thompson Rivers University (TRU)

The Community Legal Clinic (CLC) is the first student-staffed pro bono legal clinic in the Interior of British Columbia. The students and the supervising lawyer are a passionate team providing legal assistance and advice to those who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance.

 

Preparing for B.C.’s New Societies Act: A Guide to the Transition Process
by BC Registry Services

The new Societies Act will come into effect on Nov. 28, 2016. In the two years following that date, every preexisting society will be required to “transition” to the new Act. This document sets out some basic information about the transition process and other matters that societies may wish to consider over the coming months.

 

Debt collection & debt repayment agents
by Consumer Protection BC

Consumer Protection BC is the licensing and regulatory body for the debt collection and repayment industry (which includes debt collectors, collection agencies, bailiffs and debt repayment agents). They provide information on your rights & obligations around debt collection practices. Includes links on how to dispute a debt, request communication in writing only, or notify a collection agency you are not the debtor.

Includes updated information on debt collection practices. See also blog post on Debt Repayment Agents: New Rules are in place and New things to know about BC’s debt collection laws


Notice – BC Government URLs

You may have noticed that some of the links to websites hosted by the BC Government may be broken as they restructure. We are currently working with BC Gov website staff to keep links updated. For example, see the updated link to Family Justice in BC.

Stay informed:

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Justice Access Centres (JACs) – Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo

What can JACs help you with?

Family and civil law issues: separation, divorce, income security, employment, housing and debt.

A range of information and services are available, designed to help you find an early and affordable solution.

If you don’t live in Vancouver, Victoria or Nanaimo, see “How Can I Get in Touch?” at the end of this post for phone numbers you can call for information.

Specific services that JACs offer:

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Get help with and information about court forms, civil legislation, court procedures, mediation, and more.

You can:

  • meet with intake staff who assess your needs;
  • get informed about the Family Law Act, the Divorce Act, and various other civil-related legislation;
  • get informed about the different levels of court and related court procedures;
  • get a referral to a mediator (family justice counsellors and other mediation options), other dispute resolution professionals, legal services and community resources;
  • access Provincial and Supreme Court forms; and
  • get help with court forms and access computers and dedicated staff for assistance in the Self Help Resource Room (In Nanaimo, if you would like self-help assistance, book an appointment with an interviewer in advance. You can also get help with simple forms on the phone.)

Help from Partnering Agencies at some JAC locations:

01_Clicklaw_30pxMediate BC Society:

Practical, accessible, and affordable choices to prevent, manage and resolve non-family civil disputes (any kind of dispute outside of: separation and divorce, personal injury, child protection or criminal matters).

Vancouver and Victoria have an onsite Mediation Advisor who can explore and help connect people to civil mediators; Nanaimo clients are referred to Victoria.

01_Clicklaw_30pxLegal Services Society:

Family Duty Counsel (FDC) and Family Advice Lawyer (FAL) services (Provincial and Supreme Courts) are available for those who are seeking legal advice in relation to family matters and who do not qualify for legal representation through Legal Aid. FDC and FAL can provide advice about:

  • parenting time or contact / access;
  • guardianship / custody, parenting responsibilities;
  • child support;
  • applications, variations of child support, enforcement;
  • tentative settlement agreements;
  • court procedures; and
  • property (limited advice).

Note: FDC/FAL will not take on your whole case or represent you at a trial.

Aboriginal Community Legal Worker services are available in Nanaimo.

01_Clicklaw_30pxFamily Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP):

FMEP is a BC Ministry of Justice service that helps families and children entitled to spousal support or child support under a maintenance order or agreement.

The Vancouver JAC has an onsite outreach worker to help with the process, and provides information about enrolment, enforcement or changing an order.

Vancouver and Nanaimo JACs only.
01_Clicklaw_30pxCredit Counselling Society:

Free and confidential help for consumers. A Counsellor will review your monthly budget, including: income, expenses and debt payments, and can provide information and guidance to help you make informed, financial decisions.

Vancouver JAC only.

01_Clicklaw_30pxAccess Pro Bono (APB):

APB offers a number of programs which are offered onsite at the JAC (by appointment only, see contact info at end of post):

  • Legal Advice Clinic – Volunteer lawyers provide 30 minute free legal advice appointments for civil and family law issues. Call for financial criteria.
  • Wills Clinic Program – In partnership with the federal Department of Justice and the Provincial Ministry of Justice, APB operates a Wills clinic for low-income seniors (ages 55+) and people with terminal illnesses.
  • Court Form Preparation Clinic (Paralegal Program) – Vancouver JAC only. In partnership with Amici Curiae; support for self-represented litigants who need assistance in preparing BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, and BC Human Rights Tribunal documents.

How can I get in touch?

  • The Self Help Resource Rooms are in-person ONLY (no telephone assistance).
  • Reception and Intake Services can be reached by phone or drop-in.
jac_vancouverVancouver JAC

Located at the Vancouver Provincial Courthouse, #290-800 Hornby Street.

Hours are M-F, 8am-5pm, extended hours until 7pm on Wednesday by appointment, until 5:15pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Self-Help Resource room is open 8:30-4pm.

Call 604.660.2084 or toll-free at 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be connected to 604.660.2084. The centre serves Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

jac_victoriaVictoria JAC

Located at 225 – 850 Burdett Avenue.

Hours are M-F 8am-5:30pm, extended hours until 6:30 on Thursday. Self-Help Resource Room is open 9-4pm.

Call 250.356.7012 or toll-free at 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be connected to 250.356.7012. The centre serves Victoria and the surrounding south Vancouver Island and Gulf Island communities. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

jac_nanaimoNanaimo JAC

Located at 302 – 65 Front St.

Hours are M-F 8-5:30pm, with extended hours on Wednesday until 7pm by appointment only.

Call 250 741-5447 or 1-800-578-8511. The centre serves Nanaimo and the surrounding mid-Island communities. If you can’t travel to the centre, call for information.

Note: JACs are not able to provide support or services for criminal issues, small claims court forms and filings, and some other specific legal solutions.

Get informed with JACs:

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Image credit to Freepik.com

2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: January-February

In our 2015 year-end update, we promised to provide bimonthly updates to new resources and services added to Clicklaw in those two months. Here is a selection from the 150+ changes in January and February:

Jan-Feb | Mar-Apr | May-Jun | Jul-Aug | Sep-Oct | Nov-Dec


 

New Societies Act: Impact on Pre-existing Societies
by BC Registry Services

The Societies Act is new legislation that will come into effect on November 28, 2016. It governs how societies (not-for-profit corporations) are created and run in B.C. Read about the new Act’s impact on pre-existing societies. We’ll keep you updated via our related Common Question and will post here about upcoming training opportunities for you — subscribe to our blog on the left column if you haven’t already!

 

Legal Support Services Program
by Family Services of Greater Victoria (formerly BC Families in Transition)

This advocacy program assists unrepresented people in Family or Supreme Court in Greater Victoria and provides family law information to low-income people, on: separation and divorce, child and spousal support guidelines, family property and debt.

 

Court Form Preparation Clinics at the Vancouver JAC and at Atira
by Law Courts Center and Atira

Get help with BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, BC Human Rights Tribunal court forms. These clinics are run by volunteer paralegals with the supervision of duty counsel (a lawyer). The clinic can help with: Supreme Court of BC civil court pleadings, civil court forms relating to employment, foreclosures and residential tenancy matters, Supreme Court of BC family court forms, Court of Appeal family law pleadings and organizing appeal books, and BC Human Rights Tribunal forms.

 

Being an Executor
by People’s Law School

This publication is for people who have been appointed as executor in a will. It covers the steps involved in British Columbia in dealing with an estate after a person dies, including the procedure to probate the will. Updated to reflect the Wills, Estates & Succession Act, which became law in 2014.

 

Protection Orders – Questions and Answers
by BC Ministry of Justice

You may be more familiar with the term “restraining orders”. In BC, the proper term is “protection orders”, which can be either peace bonds or family law protection orders under the Family Law Act. Read more about what a protection order is, when you should get one, how it will protect you, and who you can speak with to get more information about how to apply for one.

 

NCCABC Native Courtworkers
by Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia

The purpose of the Native Courtworker program is to help aboriginal people involved in the criminal justice system obtain fair, just, equitable and culturally sensitive treatment. The program can provide the aboriginal accused with appropriate referral to legal, social, education, employment, medical and other resources, liaise between the accused and criminal justice personnel, and much more. The HelpMap service listing has been updated with new location and contact information and is managed directly by NCCABC.

 

Termination under the BC Employment Standards Act
by CBA BC Branch

If your job ends or terminates – whether you quit or you are fired or laid off – you want to be aware of your rights under the law. This script describes your rights under the Employment Standards Act, which sets out some minimum protections for workers in BC.

 

CLAS Services: BC Human Rights Clinic, Community Law Program, Mental Health Law Program
by Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

CLAS programs have been clarified:

  • Human Rights Clinic: exploring settlement, and representation before the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
  • Mental Health Law program: legal advice and representation to people who have been involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act or require representation at a Mental Health Review Board hearing.
  • Community Law Program: 
    • Worker’s Rights – appeals or reviews of SST decision about EI benefits, reconsideration or court review of lost WCAT appeal decision, reconsideration or court review of lost EST appeal decision.
    • Human Rights – information about filing a federal human rights complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal or the Canadian Transportation Agency, court review of decision from the BC Human Rights Tribunal, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, or the Canadian Transportation Agency.
    • Income Security – court review of lost Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal decision, appeal or reviews of SST decision about government pension benefits (CPP, CPP disability, OAS).
    • Housing Security – court review of lost RTB hearing, advice on Order of Possession, advice on co-op evictions, tenant or low-income homeowners facing foreclosure.
    • Mental Health – court review of a Mental Health Review Panel decision under MHA, court review of decision from the Review Board under the Criminal Code, or challenge of certificate of incapability making the PGT statutory property guardian.

Contact CLAS at 604.685.3425 or 1.888.685.6222 more more info. Have your papers ready. Note that CLAS services are for low-income clients; they will refer you to other services if they cannot represent you.


Notice – BC Government URLs

You may have noticed that some of the links to websites hosted by the BC Government may be broken as they restructure. We are working on fixing that and will keep you updated.

Stay informed:

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New information on Certificates of Divorce

CQ_iconWe’ve added a question to Clicklaw that gets asked quite often by people who visit our Courthouse LibrariesHow can I get my Certificate of Divorce? Does it make my divorce official? What forms do I need?

Our new Common Question clarifies that you do not need a certificate to make your divorce legal, but that it can be useful in some cases.

If you want more info on the different ways you can apply for a certificate, you are directed to a brand new page of the JP Boyd on Family Law Clicklaw Wikibook (JPBOFL), which:

  • answers when you can get your certificate, and
  • gives 3 options for how you can apply for it: (1) at a Supreme Court Registry in person – if you have a lawyer, or (2) in person if you are doing it by yourself, and (3) via snail mail.

We also include tips on finding your court file number, and getting a copy of your divorce order.

What is a Clicklaw Wikibook?

Clicklaw Wikibooks is Clicklaw’s companion site – it provides plain language legal information and is a platform for lawyers and legal organizations in BC to publish and update legal information in a range of different digital and physical formats by editing a single source. I like to call it a curated wiki of BC law.

In addition to reading the Wikibooks online, you can find several of them in print at your local public library, through the LawMatters programJP Boyd is a well-known family law expert and the founding author of this post’s featured Clicklaw Wikibook, which is updated by BC lawyers.

Other posts ft. JPBOFL

Stay informed

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An Introduction to BC Provincial Court Family Orders

This doesn’t need to be you.

In Provincial Court, you can get orders for: guardianship, parenting arrangements, child/spousal support, protection, and more.

See this page for general information and more resources on the BC Provincial Family Court process.

What is a court order?

An order is a statement of the court’s decision. It sets out what you and the other party (for example, you and your ex-spouse) must do.

Court orders must be prepared and filed, or “entered” into the Provincial Court Registry (click for locations).

Read the Legal Services Society (LSS) resource, “All about court orders” for more information about what kinds of court orders you can get, as well as options to pursue before the court makes a final order, to try and resolve as much of your case as possible without a formal court hearing.

Can I get a court order without a lawyer?

Yes.

If you and the other party agree about what you want the court to order, you can apply for what’s called a “consent order” and may be able to get it without attending court.

  1. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will have the order typed and submit it to the Court. If you don’t have a lawyer, the other party’s lawyer will do this, but you should see a lawyer yourself to review the proposed order before you sign a document showing you consent to the order.
    • Click here to see where to find free or low cost legal advice on family law matters.
  2. Family Justice Counsellors can also help you with family orders.
    Family Justice Counsellors can help you with consent orders.
  3. If you don’t have a lawyer, another direct way to get a consent order is to meet with a Family Justice Counsellor (FJC) who can help you obtain or change an order in Family Court. FJCs work at Family Justice Centres located across BC; they provide free services for people of modest means. FJCs are specially trained to support families to reach agreement on issues of guardianship, parenting arrangements (including parental responsibilities and parenting time), contact and support. They can help you obtain or change an order in Family Court; including preparing the consent order and submitting it to the Court for you. They can also provide information and referrals, short-term counselling, mediation, help with various court forms, and more. In some communities, couples who separate must meet with a FJC before they are given a date to appear in court.
  4. As a last resort, if you cannot meet with a Family Justice Counsellor or get help from a lawyer, it is possible to prepare a consent order yourself. This LSS Resource with Tips on how to draft a consent order contains links to the BC Provincial Court’s website, where you can access a “Picklist” WORDdoc including standard Family Law Act (FLA) terms to help you draft the order. (To “draft” an order means to choose the wording and type it. See also: What does the FLA deal with?) However, both parties should talk to a lawyer to make sure they understand what they’re agreeing to before signing their consent.
    • “How to get a final family order in Provincial Court” explains what to do once you draft a consent order. If a judge approves your order, you won’t have to appear in a court room. However, if there are problems in the wording you choose or the information you provide, you may have to attend court to give the judge more information. This is why it’s so helpful to have a FJC or lawyer prepare and submit a consent order for you.

If, however, you and the other party ultimately don’t agree, you’ll go to court and the judge will make an order:

When?

  • If both parties agree by the time you get to court you can ask the judge to make a consent order on the day of your first court appearance.
  • When you go to court, you can ask for a case conference where you and the other party will meet with a judge to discuss the issues. If you agree during the case conference, the judge can make a consent order there.
  • Your matter can be set for a hearing or trial or an interim application. The judge will make an order after considering evidence and submissions.

Who does the drafting in this case?

  • This does not mean that the judge types up the order that is filed at the registry. The Rules require the successful party’s lawyer to do that.
    • However, if you are successful and do not have a lawyer, the court clerk (registry staff) prepares the order unless the judge orders otherwise. For example, if the unsuccessful party has a lawyer, the judge may ask that lawyer to draft the order.
    • If the other party’s lawyer will be preparing an order, ask the judge to permit you to approve its wording before the lawyer sends it to the Court.
  • Whether an order is submitted by a lawyer or prepared by the court registry, it will be checked by court staff and/or the judge to ensure it reflects what the judge said in court.

How should the court order be drafted, and why?

The order should clearly and precisely reflect the court’s decision. It should state who does what, to whom, when, and in some cases where or for how long.

It should be understandable even by someone who is unfamiliar with the case. This is because the court’s orders may need to be enforced by people who were not involved in the case.

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Use the Picklists provided by the BC Provincial Court to draft better family orders.

Poor Example of a term in an order:

John Smith will pay child support of $800 a month.

  • There would be problems enforcing this order if John did not pay. It doesn’t say who he must pay or when, among other details missing.

Better Example of a term in an order:

John Smith will pay to Jane Smith the sum of $800 per month for the support of the children, May Smith born June 1, 2011 and Lee Smith born July 3, 2012, commencing on October 1st 2015 and continuing on the first day of each and every month thereafter, for as long as the children are eligible for support under the Family Law Act or until further Court order.

  • This wording from the “Picklist” on the Provincial Court website makes it clear who does what to whom, when, when the obligation starts, and when it ends. Use the standard wording of Family Law Act terms provided in the BC Provincial Court Picklists whenever possible; this also helps with faster processing at the Registry: Click here for the Picklist Word Doc.

If a lawyer is involved, they will use their notes of what the judge said to draft the order. If the judge gives written reasons for judgment after trial, the order will be prepared based on these written reasons – you can also order clerk’s notes or a transcript of the proceeding, although this can take some time and is expensive.

The order can be in the following forms (Click here to access forms):

  • Form 20 for consent orders (see what else you need to file – special requirements for applications of guardianship of children and child support),
  • Form 25 for protection orders;
  • Form 25.1 for restraining orders; and
  • Form 26 for all other orders.

Click for links to all the resources

Help for people with family law issues who have to represent themselves in BC Supreme Court

By Winnifred Assmann and Nate Prosser
Legal Services Society2015-10-02 16-42-35_Prepare for your trial_ Family Law in BC

Representing yourself is intimidating. It’s also a scenario that is becoming
more common. To help people in this situation, the Legal Services Society has created a new set of online resources to help people navigate Supreme Court trials and hearings.

These include a new self-help guide on how to schedule and prepare for a Supreme Court trial, plus step-by-step guides to walk users through completing the forms required for Supreme Court trials and Chambers hearings. All these resources walk you through the trial process.

Stage 1: Before you schedule a trial

A new fact sheet – Discovery — Sharing information with the other party – explains what discovery is, why you want to share information, and other ways to get information, like a pre-trial examination of witnesses.

Stage 2: Prepare for your trial

How to schedule and prepare for your Supreme Court trial includes a timeline of significant deadlines and links to videos that set out the court process.

Accompanying this guide are two fact sheets, Making an offer to settle, which explains how to resolve your issue before going to court, and Present your evidence in Supreme Court, which explains the different types of evidence and how to present them.

Videos, produced with the help of People’s Law School, explain topics including: scheduling and preparing for a Supreme Court trial, giving testimonyquestioning a witness, and using documents during a trial.

Stage 3: At your trial and after

The new guide, How to draft a Supreme Court order, walks through how to draft a Supreme Court order if you’re a party in a family law case. To also help with this, LSS created samples of some of the most common court orders.

Other resources include: fact sheets on coping with the court process, tips for conducting your Supreme Court trial, and what happens at a Supreme Court trial. LSS also compiled sample questions that can be asked of witnesses at a Supreme Court trial.

Finally, a new video gives you an overview of Supreme Court, tells you what to bring, shows you the inside of a courtroom, and describes what everyone in the courtroom does.

Drafting affidavits

The final set of resources help you write an affidavit. This includes a self-help guide, samples, and tips.

Those are just some of the new resources LSS has made to help people representing themselves in a family trial in Supreme Court. A full list of links can be found starting at How to represent yourself in a Supreme Court family law trial on the Family Law in BC website.

Going to BC Provincial Court? New Resources For You.

Handouts contain short bit.ly URLs that forward to the Common Question page where the resources are accessible and the handout is available as a shareable PDF download

You may be familiar with Clicklaw’s Common Questions. While you can use Clicklaw’s search and navigation to narrow down resources, sometimes it’s easier to get help picking a few to start with. This is where the Common Questions come in.

We have been working with Judge Ann Rounthwaite of the BC Provincial Court and the Clicklaw Editorial Committee to come up with 3 new special Common Question pages to help you get started with different matters in Provincial Court:

The lists are not exhaustive of all the resources available on these topics. If we included everything possibly out there, it would be much longer than a handy one-pager. We aimed for a mix of helpful basics but also resources that included practical tips for the courtroom.

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Check out new resources from the BCPC

The handouts also include some great new resources from the BC Provincial Court. For example, “Preparing for a Family Court Trial in Provincial Court” provides helpful information on Evidence at a Family Court Trial, and what facts can be relevant for your trial depending on what type of Application you are making. See more here.

Everyone is welcome to download, print and share these handouts: judges, court staff, advocates, settlement workers, librarians, and even lawyers who would like to help their clients better understand the court process now have an easy starting point to direct to. If you are a Self-Represented Litigant, this is a good place to begin. Check it out!