What is “Unbundling”? An Introduction to the BC Family Law Unbundling Roster

New on the Clicklaw HelpMap is the BC Family Law Unbundling Roster, filled with legal professionals across BC, who offer “unbundled” services.

This listing is managed directly by Roster Staff. To see full profiles for professionals on the list, which contains information about fee structure, supported languages and more, visit the Roster website here.

What are Unbundled Services?

In short, unbundled legal services means clients pay for some assistance depending on: (1) what they want help with and (2) what they can afford.

Most people would like to have the advice and assistance of a family lawyer, but hiring a lawyer to represent them from beginning to end is often too expensive and makes it difficult to predict total costs.

Unlike the traditional full-representation model, a lawyer providing unbundled legal services works on, and charges you for, only those tasks that you agree to in advance. You start by meeting your lawyer and, as a team, make a plan to address your legal problem. The entire matter is broken down into tasks and you choose which tasks you want help with and which ones you will handle on your own. This approach is flexible, and can be adapted to meet your needs including your budget and your comfort level with managing your own legal affairs.

Unbundling is not for everyone. The Roster website has a questionnaire that will help you decide whether it is for you.

What are some examples of Unbundled Services?

For example, if you are representing yourself in court you may want a lawyer’s help with drafting a document or pre-trial advice. If you are resolving your dispute through an out-of-court process like mediation, an unbundled lawyer can provide legal advice before mediation or draft a binding agreement after mediation.

Related Help

Do you know a lawyer or paralegal who is interested in joining?

Send them to this page on the Courthouse Libraries BC website, which offers a Sign Up link to join the BC Family Unbundling Roster, and a toolkit to assist and guide in the provision of unbundled family legal services in a safe and effective way. These core documents have been prepared with the assistance of the Law Society of BC.

Stay informed:

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2016 Bi-monthly Update Series: July-August

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 changes in July and August:

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


lss-logoLegal Aid Community Outreach
by Legal Services Society

The following community partners have important changes:

  • Boston Bar First Nation – this location is temporarily closed
  • Lytton First Nation – see the new address posted
  • Vernon Women’s Transition House Society – see the new phone number posted

BC_Centre_for_Elder_Advocacy_and_Support_LogoSeniors’ Legal Clinic
by BC Centre for Elder Advocacy & Support (BC CEAS)

New locations added in Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Surrey, and Vancouver’s West End. BC CEAS now offers legal services at those locations once a month. See the schedule posted.

EFry_logoElizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver

Since 1939, EFry has been providing support to incarcerated or at risk women, as well as their children. Services include assisting clients in understanding and navigating the court process at the Downtown Community Court and supporting girls in custody at the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre.

BC_Ombudsperson_logoBC Ombudsperson

The Ombudsperson can conduct impartial and confidential investigations to determine if a public agency is being fair to the people it serves. Their services are provided free of charge.

Family_Law_in_BC_postcardsFamily Law in BC: Quick Reference Tool
by Legal Services Society

This set of postcards has been updated. They are available online or in print.

 

bcgov

Options for Parents and Families: Collaborative Planning and Decision-Making in Child Welfare
by BC Ministry of Children and Family Development

This two-page booklet briefly describes different kinds of shared decision-making, and some of the ways that you can be involved in planning when a child welfare worker has concerns about your child’s safety.

bcgovPermanent Transfer of Custody of a Child to Someone Familiar in BC
by BC Ministry of Children and Family Development

When a temporary placement for a child is not possible, the alternative could be transferring custody to the caregiver by adoption or a court order. This page briefly describes the conditions, guardian’s responsibilities, financial support, rights, access orders, and future legal matters.

cropped-clicklaw_logo_postit.pngClicklaw’s Find Someone to Talk With

The list of toll-free phone numbers for law-related help in BC has been updated.

Clicklaw HelpMap

Most visited HelpMap services in July & August:

  1. Family Justice Centres
  2. Court Registries
  3. UBC Law Students Legal Advice Clinics
  4. Access Pro Bono Clinics
  5. LSS Provincial Court Family Duty Counsel
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Residential Tenancy Rights: Where to go for help?

apb_bannerBy Priyan Samarakoone
Program Manager, Access Pro Bono

The BC housing crisis has been fairly well documented in the news as of late and its ripple effect on subsidized housing is slowly rearing its ugly head. BC’s most vulnerable tenants are those hit the hardest by this trend.

It is commonly known that BC’s social housing providers are not able to keep up with the demand. As a result, many low-income tenants seek accommodation through private landlords in basement suites and split houses to cover the shortfall of available housing. This has provided a workable bridge to a long-term housing solution. Unfortunately, there is no long-term solution in sight. New property owners are faced with higher debt and some are unable to afford to rent out their new homes at the existing low rent. These landlords opt to move-in close family members or undertake significant renovations to force existing tenants out. Other new homeowners prefer to maintain the property for investment purposes and choose not to make them available on the rental market.

The increased market value of rental suites have also resulted in some Corporate Landlords having little tolerance for long term tenants who are effectively rent controlled under the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). Tenants who have previously had little to no conflict with regards to their suites find themselves battling their landlords over minor lapses that weren’t strictly enforced in the past, such as being a day or two late in paying rent. These factors have combined to cause a spike in eviction notices being served on tenants in the recent months.

The RTA provides some safeguards but has an ultimate two-month notice period for landlords to end tenancies for their personal use of the property. The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB), when dealing with such disputes, enforces strict deadlines and there are other technical steps involved in submitting evidence. It is imperative in this type of tribunal settings to get all the evidence required for the dispute before the arbitrator so that the issue may be correctly decided. If the evidence is not correctly submitted and an error is made at the tribunal, the prospect of success on a Judicial Review is significantly impaired. Unfortunately some landlords and tenants caught in this situation are unaware of their rights and uncertain of what resources are available to assist them deal with evictions. The RTB provides some information and so do organizations like the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC), but not enough is available by way of representation at RTB hearings.

Access Pro Bono (APB) has consulted with various stakeholders, including PovNet, TRAC, the UBC Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP), and the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) to assess the need for additional representation services. Although the existing non-profit organizations are providing invaluable assistance, additional legal representation services are imperative, as significant numbers of people are still unable to secure free legal advocates for hearings before the RTB.

With the assistance of TRAC and CLAS, APB is creating a program tailored to facilitate pro bono representation by lawyers and other legally trained advocates to low-income individuals (tenants or landlords) appearing before the RTB. APB will be launching our Residential Tenancy Program on August 31, 2016. This information will be made available via the Clicklaw HelpMap.

Clients interested in accessing our services will be subject to the standard intake protocol and will have to meet our income threshold. To determine eligibility please visit www.accessprobono.ca.

Lawyers interested in joining our RTP can contact APB at 604.482.3195 ext. 1513.

Please refer to the resources below for additional assistance.

Information on Tenancy Law

  • APB’s Summary Legal Advice Program: 604.878.7400 or 1.877.762.6664.

Representation

Stay informed with Access Pro Bono:

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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.


STAY INFORMED WITH TRU COMMUNITY LEGAL CLINIC:

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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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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:

freepik_discussion
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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Introducing Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS)

bwss_logoBy Vicky Law
Lawyer & Legal Advocacy Program Coordinator

For the past 26 years, BWSS has had a Legal Advocacy Program because we know that for women leaving abusive relationships, the complication of dealing with the power and control issues of a violent spouse makes dealing with legal system more difficult. Some women give up and stay with their abuser because it is easier than leaving.

Our Legal Advocacy program has expanded this year. Here is an updated list of the legal services we offer. Click on the yellow icons for more details about each service within the Clicklaw HelpMap.

01_Clicklaw_30px Full representation – Legal Advocacy Program

Approximately 80% of the women who access our services do not have legal representation because they are ineligible for government funded legal aid and cannot afford a private lawyer.

We will take on full representation files based on: the current case load, availability of time, the number of law students volunteering at BWSS, and the complexity of legal issues. BWSS will also consider if the following applies:

  • The woman has been denied by Legal Services Society for legal representation;
  • The woman has appealed the Legal Services Society’s decision of denial and the appeal was unsuccessful;
  • There are multiple barriers that prevent the woman from self-representation, including language, disability, complexity of legal issues, gender orientation, and impact of trauma;
  • The use of the court system by the abuser as way to intimidate or harass or to continue any form of violence;
  • The inability to privately retain a lawyer, such as financial difficulties; and
  • The legal issue is either a family law, child protection or immigration law matter.

Call 604-687-1867 or 604-687-1868 ext. 307 to apply.

01_Clicklaw_30px Legal Advocacy Workshops

Who & What: For women who have or are experiencing violence in their relationships and require legal support with the resulting family law and other legal issues. Lawyers from the community with experience in family law will facilitate all workshops.

When: Every Thursday, April 7, 2016 – June 9, 2016, from 10am – 12pm

Where: at the BWSS office – call 604-687-1867 for location

01_Clicklaw_30pxFamily Law Clinic

BWSS provides summary legal advice clinics in family law every month with volunteer lawyers from the community. These clinics are able to offer necessary summary legal advice to women on a continuous basis while they are unrepresented in the family law system.

We continue our partnership with Access Pro Bono to provide monthly in-house pro bono clinics in family law.

Call 604-687-1867 for the clinic schedule.

01_Clicklaw_30pxCourt Forms Preparation Clinic

We have partnered with Amici Curiae Paralegal Program to provide assistance to unrepresented women with affidavit drafting in family law proceedings – both Provincial and Supreme Court.

When: Third Wednesday of every month, from 5:45-7:45pm

Where: Call 604-687-1868 ext. 307 for location and appointments

Stay informed with BWSS:

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New Service Alert: Tax Assistance & Information for People with Disabilities

tax_aid

Today’s post introduces a New Service from Disability Alliance BC, a Clicklaw Contributor.

Who can use this service?

People receiving BC disability benefits: the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) or Persons with Persistent and Multiple Barriers (PPMB) benefit and need help filing income tax returns from past years.

Click here to learn more about BC disability benefits.

What can this new service do for you?

  • Help you gather the documents necessary to file your taxes
  • Meet with you one-on-one to help you file your basic
    income tax return
  • Provide information and advice (in-person, or by phone and/or email) about filing income tax returns – See their informational page on the Benefits of Tax Filing
  • Provide referrals to community organizations in your area that can help with more complex tax returns
  • Access advice and support for you from a chartered accountant if your tax return is complex

How do I get started?

Find Contact Information, Hours of Service, and more at Disability Alliance BC‘s Service Listing for this service on the HelpMap:

Click here for Tax Assistance & Information for People with Disabilities – Service Listing

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New Service Alert: TRAC now provides Full Representation

TRAC7-20-2015 12-32-51 PM
Today’s post introduces Direct Representation from TRAC, a Clicklaw contributor. TRAC now provides free full representation to tenants at dispute resolution hearings in limited situations depending on eligibility and location:

Who?
Eligibility criteria to receive representation from TRAC:
– Income
– Types of Cases

Where?
The Lower Mainland, with some exceptions

TRAC reserves the right to use its discretion on a case-by-case basis, and has the final say regarding which tenants receive assistance. There may be times when TRAC is unable to represent a tenant who falls under the criteria above due to time constraints or other factors.

For more information check out TRAC’s Direct Representation page or contact the Tenant Infoline at 604-255-0546 or 1-800-665-1185.

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Uncontested Divorce Order Application Clinic Launches June 6, 2015 – Vancouver

lawcourtscenter

By Dom Bautista
Executive Director, Law Courts Center

The Amici Curaie Paralegal Programme is pleased to announce the opening of their “Temporary Foreign Workers’ Uncontested Desk Order Divorce Program” on June 6, 2015.

Who is this Clinic for?

The clinic helps Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFWs”) complete their application for an uncontested divorce order with the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The clinic also helps TFWs who have children in their native country, and are in the process of applying to include their children, but not their spouse, in their application to become a Canadian permanent resident (“PR”).

How does this Clinic help TFWs immigrate to Canada?

For TFWs who do not wish to include their spouse in their PR application, Immigration Canada requires proof of separation, such as a divorce order. This clinic will help you complete your application for an uncontested divorce order.

Read more about the clinics..

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