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. It is ideal for clients who value cost predictability and prefer to play a more active role in their own legal matter.
The BC Family Justice Unbundled Legal Services Project has now released their Final Report, which gives some more background on the project designed to encourage more BC family lawyers to offer unbundled legal services to BC families who wish to resolve issues arising from separation and divorce through out-of-court processes including mediation. The Report details the project’s activities, and contemplates the future of the project.
The Report also highlights places where you can learn more about Unbundling, namely the unbundling website: http://unbundling.ca
Wednesday, February 8 (5:00-7:00pm) 2228 Oak Bay Ave, Victoria: Victoria meet-up at the Penny Farthing – Come meet Micheal and Paul, discuss current civil liberties and human rights issues, and find out if you might like to get more involved! RSVP so we know how many snacks to order.
Thursday, February 16 (7:00-8:30pm) Alice McKay Room, Lower Level, Vancouver Public Library – 350 W Georgia St, Vancouver: Panel – Protecting the Right to Protest: Free Speech versus Corporate Power – The aim of this roundtable discussion is to explore how we can mobilize the media to, among other issues, educate the public for the need to reform the courts to regain citizen rights to free speech and the right to dissent.
Pro Bono lawyers provide a 30-minute free legal consultation on issues related to TFWs on Immigration, Employment, Human Rights & Privacy, Admin-General and Civil Procedure. This service is for low-income migrant workers including: Low-Skilled Workers, Persons under the Live-in Caregiver Program, Agricultural Workers, etc. All clients should book an appointment at least a week before the target Clinic date. Book an appointment with the organizer.
February 6-16 (Various Dates): People’s Law School presents the following events in Burnaby and Vancouver:
Wednesday, February 8 (6:30-8:30pm): Disability Alliance BC promotes a free online webinar from lawyer Ken Kramer, Q.C. on Disability & Estate Planning– Topics: Preparing a Will, Trust planning for persons with disability, Disability and Estate planning
Wednesday, February 15 (11:30-2:30pm): Pivot Legal Society presents A Forum on Red Zones: Bail and Sentencing Conditions & Marginalized People in Vancouver at the Japanese Language School Auditorium, 487 Alexander Street, Vancouver in the DTES.
Speakers will present and comment on findings from a study conducted in Vancouver on area restrictions and other conditions and lead a discussion with participants. Free lunch will be served.
The BC Society Act, which provides the rules for governance and incorporation of non-profits, officially proclaimed important changes on November 28, 2016. There will be a two year transition period by which time all societies in BC will have to make the switch to the new Act. This workshop will provide the information on the bylaw and policy changes necessary for your organization to effectively make the transition when the new Act is proclaimed.
Monday, February 20 (6:00-8:00pm): National Self-Represented-Litigants Support Network meets in Vancouver. The group offers free support for individuals going through the difficult experience of representing themselves in family or civil court. Held at the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre at 2772 East Broadway, Vancouver. Free Parking available. RSVP to NSSN.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
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?
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 Centres. Phone to book an appointment at the numbers below:
Victoria Mediation Advisor
225 – 850 Burdett Ave
Victoria, BC V8W 1B4
Vancouver Mediation Advisor
290 – 800 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2C5
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mediate BC is hosting BC’s second annual Conflict Resolution Week, October 17-24, 2015.
During the week of October 17-24, Mediate BC and its Roster mediators will be organizing events throughout the province to build awareness of healthy ways to resolve conflicts, including mediation.
The Conflict Resolution Week 2015 theme is “Why Not Mediate?”
#WhyNotMediate is the event’s official hashtag.
“Mediation is a great option for many people because it’s private, has more flexibility in resolutions and typically is faster and less expensive than going to court. It saves people time, money and stress and allows them to get back to what’s important to them,” says Mediate BC’s CEO Monique Steensma. Steensma is supported by studies that show mediation to be an effective, affordable, timely and accessible option.
The new BC Human Rights Clinic is the result of a 2014 Ministry of Justice review, merging two human rights organizations:
The BC Human Rights Coalition, who operated advocacy, information, and education services for the Clinic, merged with CLAS, who were operating legal services for the Clinic.
WHO CAN USE THIS NEW SERVICE?
You may qualify for this service if you have a complaint before the BC Human Rights Tribunal and seek legal representation or advocacy. You first go through an intake process and must meet certain criteria to qualify. One example of what can qualify you for assistance is the inability to obtain legal representation for free or at a reduced rate from a legal provider.
WHAT CAN THIS NEW SERVICE DO FOR YOU?
Advocacy provided includes:
attending settlement meetings;
responding to applications;
and doing disclosure
LegalRepresentation provided if your case is not settled or dismissed includes:
clinic lawyers who may represent the complainant at a full hearing; or
provideother limited legal assistance; or
CLAS lawyers who are able to provide further limited help with submissions if required, following a hearing.
By Kari Boyle Director of Strategic Initiatives, Mediate BC
Are you going through a separation or divorce? Would you like to avoid the time, money and stress involved with going to court? Mediate BC is a not-for-profit society that provides people with practical, accessible and affordable choices for resolving their disputes. With funding from the Law Foundation of BC, Mediate BC has launched the Sliding Scale Family Mediation Projectthis Spring to help families experiencing divorce and separation to access mediation services at fees which are set based on the family’s net income and assets/debts.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Family mediators will help you reach decisions about issues such as: property division, child and spousal support, parenting time and guardianship without going to court. This approach promotes a healthy relationship with the participants and any children involved, and can also save you time, money and stress.
How do I get started? Visit our website or call the Sliding Scale Project Mediation Coordinator, Maria Silva, at 1-877-656-1300 ext. 108 for more information. She will help you decide if this program is the right choice for you.
Below are some of Mediate BC’s other services and resources:
– About Mediation: information on mediation, including the role of a mediator and how to choose one.
– Roster Mediator Directories: searchable directories of civil, family, and child protection mediators to assist people in selecting a suitable mediator to resolve their dispute.
– Public Education and Training: offers free public seminars on mediation and professional development opportunities for dispute resolution practitioners.
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is joining the legal landscape in BC, but many people–even some lawyers–are unfamiliar with its processes. We are covering the emergence and expansion of ODR in BC in a series of blog posts. (See our introduction here.)
In recent ODR-related news, the Civil Resolution Tribunal or “CRT” (which we discussed in our first post) has appointed 18 tribunal members. They will hear strata property and small claims cases, and will be able to make decisions that are binding and enforceable like court orders. You can read the press release from the CRT and BC Ministry of Justice here.
Mediate BC is launching BC’s first ever Conflict Resolution Week, October 11-18, 2014.
During the week of October 11-18, Mediate BC and its Roster mediators will be organizing events throughout the province to build awareness of healthy ways to resolve conflicts, including mediation.
The theme for this year is “Let’s Talk It Out”.
“Many people still believe that going to court is the default option to resolve conflicts. The truth is there are many ways to solve most conflicts outside of, or earlier in, the court system which can save you time and money,” says Mediate BC’s Executive Director Kari D. Boyle.
During Conflict Resolution Week, Kari Boyle, will also announce the highlights of the 2014 survey of its Roster Mediators which confirms that mediation is an effective, timely and affordable option. Join this free interactive seminar at the Vancouver Public Library (350 W Georgia Street, Vancouver) on Tuesday, October 14 from 12:00 – 1:00pm to learn more.